DINNER PARTY INTEL: Son of Concorde
The next generation of supersonic commercial flights has moved a step closer
1. Son of Concorde
The next generation of supersonic commercial flights has moved a step closer. Boeing has invested in US-based Aerion in a partnership to develop Aerion’s AS2 supersonic business jet. The last supersonic airliner, Concorde, was grounded in 2003. According to a report in New Atlas, Aerion’s 12-passenger business jet can fly at Mach 1.4 (1,671km/h) but with a much reduced sonic boom. The AS2 could fly by 2023 and enter service in 2025. The new age of commercial faster-than-sound flight will be more economical and environmentally friendlier than the Concorde, it adds.
2. SA steps up at AU
Hot on the heels of his state of the nation address, President Cyril Ramaphosa has jetted off to Addis Ababa to attend the African Union’s annual assembly of heads of state. SA will chair the regional body in 2020. Ramaphosa will also present SA’s ratification of the African continental free trade area. The presidency says ratification of the 2018 agreement demonstrates SA’s commitment to breaking down trade barriers and building an integrated African market.
We’ve heard of foulbrood disease wiping out bee populations, and that people might in future have to eat insects in a food-scarce world. But it looks worse for insects. A study published in the journal Biological Conservation has found that more than 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered. Pesticides in agriculture is the main cause, then urbanisation and climate change. “If insect species losses cannot be halted, this will have catastrophic consequences for the planet’s ecosystems and for the survival of mankind,” an agri-scientist who reviewed the study told The Guardian. The 2.5% rate of annual loss over the past 25-30 years is “shocking”, he said: “In 10 years you will have a quarter less, in 50 years only half left and in 100 years ... none.”