Sonic Cruiser Now "New Vision Airplane"

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A Boeing official has confirmed that the presumed-dead Sonic Cruiser may find new life in Boeing's "new vision airplane" project. Kenneth Hiebert, Boeing's marketing director in the Middle East, told a Dubai newspaper that elements of the long-range, high-speed airliner would end up in a new, unnamed aircraft that marries those attributes with high efficiency. Boeing announced an end to the Sonic Cruiser project in December. The new aircraft is expected to roll out in 2008, about when the Sonic Cruiser was to debut. Meanwhile, Boeing CEO Phil Condit was in Davos, Switzerland, downplaying projections that Europe-based Airbus will overtake Boeing in commercial jet production this year. "There are a lot of ways of measuring No. 1," Condit told the Associated Press, noting that half of Boeing's business is in military and space applications. But he also said the commercial jet side is taking dead aim at Airbus's emerging dominance in the mid-sized, fuel-efficient airliner market with a 200-seat answer to the A-320 and A-330.