The silly season for media stories is now on, and the two launch entries are Odyssey Airlines, which says it will take on the bespoke British Airways London City to New York City service, and the further relaunching of the HyperMach SonicStar four times the speed of sound business jet.
Go explore the website for the Sonic Star (recently upgraded from mach 3.5 to 4.0 with no sonic boom audible at sea level) and after a bit of fluff about where were you when man walked the moon, or The Beatles blew us (and Buddy Holly) away, and you arrive here, where the promoters are selling £100 shares, to finance the revolutionary technology which will make its first flight in 2021.
The Today Show fell for this so badly on 7 August (with the now superseded mach 3.5 version which would take all of four hours to fly from Sydney to New York) that the interview is prominently archived on the SonicStar home page, a bit like the stuffed head of a trophy kill.
But now its back at mach 4.0 and the price of entry for punters, squeezing out the likes of Airbus and Boeing, whose engineers have somehow completely failed to crack the technological solutions, remains yours for an entry price of £100. Sounds like they should talk to some of the defence proponents of the JSF Joint Strike Fighter who also did their backsides in the Firepower fuel pill con. (The JSF doesn’t make the cut for a silly season story, since it is a real, damaging, nasty calamity, and it involves massive harm and cost in terms of our national interests.)
It should be noted that the Fairfax story about Odyssey Airlines is not itself at all silly. It drills right down to the rabbit-in-the-spotlight moment where one of the claimed proponents knows nuffin’. But it is a reminder that it ’tis the season for silly claims.
The existing British Airways service out of London City, the only London airport that could be considered civilised, is in an all business class 32 sleeper berth A318 which cannot takeoff ‘heavy’ from the short runway, but turns this into a plus by landing at Shannon in Eire, where US border formalities are completed, meaning the target market, business flyers, can just walk off the jet on arrival in NYC. The return non-stop flight puts passengers within minutes of the London financial district.
The issues with Odyssey Airlines or Ody Air, its other registered name, are that it has no brand power, has apparently reluctant or incorrectly identified backing, and will use a jet which hasn’t yet flown, the Bombardier C series, which uses an engine technology which is very promising but not yet commercially proven, and is an airliner with an order book so small it is fair to see the concept as vulnerable to bad economic times, and marginal in good times.
Qantas gives up on job security, union gives up on A380 maintenance, ACCC gives up on illegal sales, ’tis the season to be giving at Qantas to be sure