Boomerang brings big returns

12.01.10: BRITISH AIRWAYS this week took delivery of Goliath - nicknamed the Boomerang - a revolutionary plane which can carry up to 1,000 passengers.

The £200m V-shaped craft made its inaugural flight from New York to London without a hitch yesterday. BA plans to buy seven of the Boeing AB3000s for its transatlantic routes.

The AB3000 is built from carbon composites, which combine strength with lightness. This allows it to use 20% less fuel than a conventional jumbo. Developed with Nasa and Stanford University, the AB3000's fuselage doubles as a wing, with passengers sitting inside the wings too.

Synthetic screens have been installed inside the windowless cabin showing the view outside, along with a high-tech entertainment system. Despite the AB3000's advantages, airlines have been slow to commit to the plane because its 280ft wingspan requires airport terminal buildings to be redesigned.

But while one era begins, another is ending. After 45 years of service, Concorde made its last scheduled landing at Heathrow yesterday.

Remaining Concordes will be given to museums. Newer, more economic supersonic business jets are being put into service but, for now, they will be the preserve of the very rich or very important. The rest of us will be crammed into 800-seat airbuses. MP/JM