London to Australia in two hours?

first_imgVirgin Galactic will be ready for blast off ‘within months’ according to Virgin boss Richard Branson.According to Mr Branson was speaking at a UAE government summit and said the launch is within sight after years of testing. He said that he should be granted approval for commercial flights within months. Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShip 2 recently completed a third successful rocket-powered test flight over the Mojave Desert in California.The company has sold over 700 tickets for the first commercial flights, at a cost of over $200,000 each according to TravelMole.comSir Richard told the summit that the “ultimate end-game for Virgin Galactic” is to run flights between London and Australia cutting flight times by over 80 per cent.“Obviously if we could fly to Australia in a couple of hours that would give us a massive advantage over anybody else” he said, cautiously adding that the reality of point to point Virgin Galactic flights is well over a decade away.“I would say that Virgin Galactic point-to-point travel would be about 12 years away.”But there are doubters. In an interview with Al Arabiya News Aviation analyst Saj Ahmad of, claims “the technology to do it just isn’t mature, robust or reliable enough to do it – and that’s before you consider the astronomical costs too.”“The concept, while novel, is a tad beyond the realm of reality,” he told Al Arabiya News.Ahmad was also skeptical on the likely profitability of Branson’s ‘space tourism’ venture.“Those with five- or six-figure sums of cash that is burning a hole in their pockets will likely be the only users – so how it could be profitable remains a mystery,” he said.“The costs involved seriously outweigh the planned or perceived revenue forecasting – the chasm has a huge disconnect so profitability is not going to happen anytime soon either.”last_img

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