The Concorde is a supersonic passenger airliner which can reach over twice the speed of sound. When it first revealed in the 1960s, many airlines lined up to buy it as it was seen as the future of air travel. After a short operation, many problems put the Concorde into the debate. At supersonic speeds, aircraft generates loud sonic booms that can be heard along the entire flight path. It was estimated that sonic booms generate by a single flight can be heard by five million people. Finally, it retired in 2003 under pressure from public, environment and politics.
Air travel at half speed of the last century is not progress.
The Concorde has a huge advantage in speed. It can reach at Mach 2.2, while today’s commercial jet fly at Mach 0.85. Take the route from London to New York for example. The distance between them is 3,470 miles. The current subsonic planes take seven and a half hours, however the Concorde only need just over three hours. Air travelling at half speed of the last century is clearly not progress.
Utilitarianism can be adopted to support this argument. To a utilitarian, the choice that yield the greatest benefit to the most people is the one ethically right. In this case, the Concorde clearly much faster than the current subsonic commercial airplane, it will benefit most of the people who need air travel.
Time is money, time is life. Supersonic air travel may change one man’s life forever. For example, patients who need urgent surgeries now have more chances to live. There are also many studies predicts that supersonic travel will boom economics and accelerate globalism. It provides more opportunity and possibility to the general public.
One common argument for going against the Concorde is Concorde is wealthy passengers’ toy since the ticket prices are significantly higher a regular jet. Such a premium ticket price keeps most of the people away from supersonic air travel. However, this argument is pointless from a long term of view for the aviation industry. Aviation industry needs pioneers, need the companies with vision and courage to step up the game. The development of Concorde is not easy, there’s are many engineering challenges need to overcome. Take British for example, the development program burned £1.3 billion totally without considering the cost of manufacture. If we stopped commercialising the supersonic air travel, the development progress would be slower and slower since the investment is very limited. It’s harmful to the future development of the aviation industry. And the supersonic air travel will never be possible for the next generation.
In 2012, there was a plan attempts to revive the iconic Concorde to fly over London’s 2012 Olympics. However, the engineering team quickly found how difficult that is and finally dismissed the plan. After Concorde suspend for almost a decade, the related industry was gone. This is a perfect example of how stopping commercialising supersonic air travel damages the relevant industry.
When it comes to
Some companies try to reinvent the Concorde with modern technology after half a century, aims to make supersonic air travel more affordable and available to more people. NASA is attempting to reshape the conventional fixed-wing design to solve one of the biggest concerns of supersonic aircraft, the sonic boom. And making supersonic air travel quiet and more efficient. With lower price tickets, improved business model and optimised engineering solutions, the supersonic aircrafts have a much greater opportunity to earn back the development cost.
We have to slow down before we are ready!
Concorde produces particularly loud sonic booms as it has a maximum speed over twice the speed of sound at Mach 2.2. The sonic boom which generates enormous amounts of sound energy can be extremely startling and even as loud as an explosion or a thunderclap to the human ear. What is more, it’s powerful enough to shatter windows.
It’s evident that people who live next to the airport are deeply influenced by the intolerable noise made by Concorde. According to the Kant’s theory whose basic principle is that act as to treat humanity, whether in your own person or in that of any other. Airline company shouldn’t disregard of the harm to the community that sonic boom noise might result. They need to ask themselves if they want to live next to the airport and suffer from the extremely loud sonic booms constantly. Airline company also shouldn’t damage the relationship between their potential customers who live on the flight path and take these into consideration when they make the decision to operate the Concorde commercially according to care ethics.
Another issue for Concorde is the damage to the environment due to the highly fuel-consuming engine installed on it. The nitrogen oxides released by Concorde is much more than a regular jet. To a utilitarian, the choice that yields the most significant benefit to most of the people is the one that is ethically correct. The airlines do not care about the damage to the global environment but how much profit they can get. In order to fulfil the interest of certain groups of customers and airlines, the environment for whole human beings is sacrificed, which is against the spirit of Utilitarianism.
Moreover, the Concorde needed more operating cost than others, its calculated operating cost was $3,800 per block hour in 1972, while the actual operating cost of $1,835 for a 707 and $3,500 for a 747 in 1971. It also demanded maintenance crews and flight specialists, which meant the additional high cost. Airbus predictions of Concorde maintenance cost in the next few years was $62 million (£40 million) in excess of airline projections. The fuel also became a big problem since the Concorde consumed more fuel, but oil prices began to increase in the 1970s. So the massive fuel consumption and high fuel price formed another problem. Then, an Air France Concorde crashed on taking off with 113 people died and the following the September 11 attacks, bringing low public confidence of the Concorde.
Last but not least, revisiting its business model. The ticket price for Concorde is extremely higher than normal jet since it only offers just over 100 passenger seats for single flight. Because of high operation and manufacturing cost, it’s painful for the airline company to cut down the ticket price. The unreasonably high ticket prices keep people away from it, and it finally becomes a luxury lifestyle for wealthy people.
Although the Concorde provides a unique supersonic air travel experience and offers many possibilities and opportunities for the future. Our group against the commercialization of Concorde at the current stage.