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Boeing Dreamliner Economy

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During the late 1990s, Boeing considered replacement aircraft programs as sales of the 767 and 747-400 slowed. Two new aircraft were proposed. The 747X would have lengthened the 747-400 and improved efficiency, and the Sonic Cruiser would have achieved 15% higher speeds (approximately Mach 0. 98) while burning fuel at the same rate as the 767. Market interest for the 747X was tepid; however, several major American airlines, including Continental Airlines, showed initial enthusiasm for the Sonic Cruiser, although concerns about the operating cost were also expressed. The global airline market was disrupted by the September 11, 2001, attacks and increased petroleum prices, making airlines more interested in efficiency than speed. The worst-affected airlines, those in the United States, had been considered the most likely customers of the Sonic Cruiser; thus the Sonic Cruiser was officially cancelled on December 20, 2002. On January 29, 2003 Boeing announced an alternative product, the 7E7, using Sonic Cruiser technology in a more conventional configuration. The emphasis on a smaller midsize twinjet rather than a large 747-size aircraft represented a shift from hub-and-spoke theory toward the point-to-point theory, in response to analysis of focus groups.

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