They have it all wrong. In 15 years, the pinnacle of commercial airplanes won't be shiny, fast and high tech. They will be more like buses or trains: slow, boring, reliable and affordable.
They're already slow, boring and reliable. Where I disagree is that I don't see them getting a whole lot more affordable in 15 years. Fuel and maintenance costs should continue to drop as more old planes are replaced with current and upcoming models but ticket prices have only gone up. People will continue to pay high prices for air travel unless ground travel suddenly becomes a whole lot quicker and we build highways and railroads over large bodies of water. We all seem to hate airlines, but what are you going to do, go Greyhound? Yeah, right. Air travel will continue to be both expensive and popular for the foreseeable future, especially but not only in America. Not every place has a rail system like Western Europe, nor is as compact.
It failed because the cost of tickets was unsustainable...
The Concorde failed because a tire exploded, it streaked terrifyingly across the Paris sky trailing hundreds of feet of fire, and crashed in a giant fireball, killing everyone. And then the fleet was instantly and irrevocably grounded. The program had its economic issues over the years, but was still in operation nonetheless - until the disaster.
I think you are misremembering history. Concordes were not instantly and irrevocably grounded after the 2000 Paris accident, as some flew well into 2003. Maintenance costs were rising on the old planes and demand sagged after 9/11. The Paris wreck was a heavy blow but it is not what ultimately ended Concorde service. The flight deck of those things was so antiquated by 2003 and they were so inherently crappy to fly that I'm surprised they made it that long. Incredible machines, and a real marvel in their day, but it is not accurate to say that their one and only fatal accident did them in.
And, for the record, the tire only exploded because it had help from debris another plane had left on the runway, and because other factors caused the Concorde to use more of the runway than normal on takeoff. As demanding as it was (long runway requirement, so unique to fly, incredibly thirsty, limited cargo and seating capacity, old, and expensive to maintain) the plane in question was completely airworthy. Decreased demand and increased costs related to security caused a lot of grief in the airline industry after 9/11, and didn't just kill the Concorde.
Voight-Kampff by a mile.
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