Air Transport World

Northwest Airlines first to endorse hypersonic transport.

Northwest Airlines first to endorse hypersonic transport Follow-on supersonic or hypersonic possibilities are starting to draw some airline interest. Northwest Airlines sees increasing need for such a transport especially for transpacific markets if U.S. trade development enjoys growth in that region.

Northwest is a major U.S. international flag carrier and is the dominant American operator in the Pacific and Asiatic trade areas. It is also the first U.S. airline to endorse the hypersonic aircraft program as proposed by a group of high-tech aerospace organizations.

In a letter to Congressman George Brown Jr., chairman of the House subcommittee on transportation, Northwest's Chief Executive Officer, Steven G. Rothmeier, said his airline "fully supports the national aeronautics goal for a hypersonic aircraft that is vitally important to the U.S. development of trade in the Pacific Basin." He said, "We have made known our interests in the program and look forward to working with you and other members of Congress, relevant agencies of the government and the aircraft manufacturers to further the development of a technologically sound and economically feasible hypersonic aircraft."

Such an endorsement by a U.S. flag carrier adds additional push to an already active program for a hypersonic aircraft development project supported by agencies within and without the government: congressional transportation groups, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the U.S. Department of Commerce. The project now becoming known as the "Orient Express," a superfast commercial airliner, is now awaiting approval so that initial design, test and demonstration flight work may be launched. …

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