Jumbo collaboration

TEMPTED by projections that the number of air passengers will double in the next 10 years, but daunted by the US $10 billion price tag of a super jumbo jet with a carrying capacity of 800 passengers, Boeing of USA is negotiating collaboration with Europe's Airbus Industrie consortium. Boeing's latest jumbo, the 747-400, can carry only 450 passengers.

Because a super jumbo would have to use existing airports, the major design problem is how to seat an extra 350 passengers in an aircraft that only nominally exceeds the dimensions of a 747-400. And, how will present airport terminals and ancillary facilities cope with the bigger aircraft and the vast crowds they would disgorge?

Boeing's engineers, however, are confident these problems can be solved.