Jwenting, would you please tell me why I´m a member of the Airbus PR department? Currently I´m quite amused about your statement...
Wingman: Actually I think that there is quite a big market for a sonic cruiser - but it would be a super-sonic cruiser. With M0.98 or even M1.08 the gains (TIME) are not really big, taking under consideration the already crowded airports, especially in the Norht-Atlantic/Europe range. A direct, slightly larger Concorde replacement has a better chance to be an economic success for one reason: here you has a real TIME-saving. The problems I´ve pointed out are of technical nature, I just don´t see that there has been a real break-through in aerodynamics and engines which would deliver what Boeing currently is interested in offering.
Original specs of the SC said that the engines of the SC were supposed to be re-engined B777 engines, especially the GE90 and Trent 800. Even Rolls-Royce admitted that the M0.1 increase would result in a 25% increase in fuel burn, resulting from the higher drag (see Eg777ER´s statement). Currently all manufacturers have focused on clean-shet engine developments. This however will impact on the aquisition price of the SC and thus on the long-term costs. Without having a second application for the engine (the only other one would be a competing aircraft from Airbus) all engine manufacturers would have to recover all development costs with a comparibly low number of engines which means that they wouldn´t be able to lower the price too much.
About the class arrangement I disagree with you, the SC would likely be a two-a-half-class plane: a large first, an even larger business class and a small eco class, mainly a result of the - likely - higher fares (due to higher over-all costs). Thus an eco single-class segment does not make much sense IMO.
I like to ask you one question: if there has really been a break-through in the fight against the sonic barrier who would have found it out? Most likely the research departments of the military because they would be the most interested party for such a development. An something of this improtance usually leaks out quite quick.
Sorry, but in the current configuration I´ve some problems to the SC becoming a commercial success.
Flown: A319/320/321,A332/3,A343/346, A359, A380,AT4,AT7,B712, B732/3/4/5/7/8/9,B742/4,B752/3, B762/763,B772/77W,CR2/7/9/K,ER3/4,E70/75/90/95, F50/70/100,M11,L15,SF3,S20, AR8/1, 142/143,... 330.860 miles and counting.