x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Whisked from Paris to Tokyo in a couple of hours

Airbus and its parent company EADS announce plans for futuristic new airliners.

It seems a throwback to the old days of air travel, when scientists adapted jet fighter technology to propel travellers across continents in the time it takes to watch an in-flight movie - and without any concern for noise pollution or soaring oil prices.

But EADS, the aerospace group that owns Airbus, yesterday unveiled the Zero Emission Hypersonic Transportation (Zehst) - a turbocharged superplane capable of flying from Paris to Tokyo in about two-and-a-half hours when it is scheduled to take to the skies in 2050.

If that sounds similar to Concorde, the Anglo-French supersonic passenger jet that was retired in 2003, Zehst uses the same streamlines and delta-wing design.

"It is not a Concorde but it looks like a Concorde, showing that aerodynamics of the 1960s were already very smart," Jean Botti, the EADS chief technical officer, told Reuters.

Flying at an altitude of 32km, the plane is expected to travel at four times the speed of sound.

There would be little need for a layover in the Gulf on trips from Europe to Asia, analysts said.

Last week, Airbus unveiled its Concept Cabin, which allows passengers to gaze at the stars through a transparent fuselage while cruising.

ghunter@thenational.ae