Economics is rather simple - but for the Concorde there was one major fatal flaw
All put aside - the Concorde was a wonderful plane. It could have been our 'default' way of travelling. It was easily conceivable that its success could have brought more planes in production and more routes everywhere.
However Supersonic transport had one fatal flaw: Sonic Booms.
The unfortunate thing about Sonic Booms is they are very unpopular with anyone living on the ground. Windows smash, people get scared. For this reason Concorde was banned travelling over cities and urban/suburban areas, and was restricted therefore to trans-Atlantic routes only.
This restriction was the deathnell of Supersonic transport. See, for any given product brought to market to be brought down in cost, you need:
- Mass production of it to enable thousands of it to be made. This allows for development costs to be 'spread' out over thousands of plans, instead of just a dozen.
- With widespread use, you need to be able to gradually improve your product to become more efficient, more safe, more comfortable over time. Cars have had such steady improvement, and Airbus / Boeing passenger jets the same.
- Multiple airline customers to promote a flexible market. Airbus and Boeing came out on top with their mass produced consumer jets, which are bought by airlines, but also for which 'old' planes were snapped up by low-cost carriers. You need this type of market.
For Concorde, the issue was none-of-the-above were enabled because there was no money in only servicing a small market of transatlantic flights. Therefore, no mass production. No low-cost development, no markets able to trade it. Concorde remained in the 'high cost' 'low-efficiency' 'limited route' area, and with only over a dozen made it disappeared.
Want it to be default? Solve the issue of Sonic Booms. Perhaps:
- A development that allowed Supersonic travel without the Boom
- A way for it to fly at such high altitude a Boom is not louder than current jets at ground level
- A widespread acceptance of Booms, or architectural materials that enabled booms to not penetrate buildings easily with little additional cost to construction, and windows that are unaffected by Booms
The only way to make Concorde incrementally safer and fund fuel-efficient development like current Boeing and Airbus manufacturers is to mass produce it, and have it in production for decades (if not a century). The only way is if it can deliver the same as current-day jets in terms of unrestricted flight paths, but with a benefit of being faster (without the booms). Safety and fuel efficiency would then follow.