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© Copyright Dr Milson Macleod 2005

The capital cost of our new air craft (shuttles) would be significantly lower than traditional jet aircraft and the cost of maintenance would all but disappear. It could be the saving grace for most airlines, which are being strangled, indeed bankrupted, by costs. According to IATA the cost per flying minute for fuel, lubricants and maintenance is $100 for a typical commercial jet.

Boeing's orders for the 700 series of jets for 2005 delivery are currently 596 and 211 deliveries have been made. The price range for the 737 model is from $46 to $76 million, for the jumbo 767 it is $112 to $153. The European Airbus 380 costs $250 million, carrying 555 passengers. The Airbus executive estimated that Japanese airlines alone will need at least 600 new aircraft over the next 20 years. A jet engine alone costs $10 million these days.

It would seem that $10 million would be more than enough to manufacture a complete shuttle as envisaged, with a handsome return on investment. As flights are short, they will be comfortable without the many amenities needed by passengers for longer flights.

Many accepted facilities at airports would disappear with the 21st Century space-port, reducing cost to a mere fraction of traditional outlays. No runways, no fueling stations, no maintenance bays translates into tremendous savings in real estate alone.

The costs, income from sales and other charges, and ROI under varying circumstances are summarized in Appendix 'A', page xi. These figures in many instances must still be considered theoretical at this point, but the potential for profit is clear.

The principal set of figures (Appendix 'A') shows the performance over five years if the first corporation created (Company 'A') were to own all subsequent space-ports. Separate figures are shown for the viability of each type of space-port ('A', 'B' and 'C'), and are shown under Appendix A-A, Appendix A-B and Appendix A-C respectively.

The cost of the minimal services space-port ('C') can be incredibly low. As mentioned elsewhere, a shuttlecraft can land in a farmer's field or common, so long as the soil is firm at the time (not waterlogged), and it can be serviced by a mobile office or even an airport-bus type vehicle, with an onboard office, operating from the immediate environment or from the nearest transportation hub. This might well be a common practice in many places until a permanent space-port can be built. Certainly not something one could do with jet aircraft.

Today's picture of air transportation in North America is dismal. By the Fall of 2005 four out of the seven largest airlines in USA were flying under bankruptcy protection, and consumer confidence was at a low ebb.

In recent years Canada has lost Wardair and Canadian Pacific, leaving the international skies to Air Canada, which then also went bankrupt but stayed in business, with the no-frills Westjet picking up speed in the national marketplace. In most other places in this world the same situation applies.

It will take major innovation to correct these problems - and this project offers exactly that, including a solution to the many complaints of air travelers regarding the level of service offered, and airline practices such as over-booking, which seriously affects travelers on a distinct schedule.

In the field of commercial aviation the appraisal must definitely be "no contest!"

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Revolution in the Air project: Ancient drawing of spacecraft