Japan, France Work on Supersonic Plane

Japan and France are jointly researching a supersonic passenger plane that would seat up to 300 people, three times as many as the retired Concorde, and have the ability to fly from Tokyo to New York in six hours.

A group of defense contractors and engineering companies will split an annual research budget of about $1.8 million over the next three years, Japan's trade ministry said. Officials hope to have the jet in operation by 2015, flying up to 2.4 times the speed of sound.

Boeing Chairman Discusses Airbus

Boeing Chairman Lewis E. Platt said a transatlantic trade dispute over plane subsidies should not exclude Airbus from U.S. defense work. But Platt stuck firmly to demands that the European company give up government development loans before the sides open talks to resolve the subsidies dispute. The U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill last month that includes an amendment to prevent the Pentagon from awarding contracts to foreign companies whose subsidies are contested by the United States, as Airbus's are.

Delta Raises Fuel Fee on Europe Flights

Delta Air Lines, the biggest U.S. carrier to Europe, raised a fuel surcharge on most flights between the United States and Europe by $20 round trip to a total of $90 because of higher fuel costs. The increase is on all transatlantic flights except those from France and Italy, the company said, and the increase for travel from Britain will be $16.40 round trip.


Government Sets Gazprom Price

The Russian government has approved a $7.15 billion price tag for the state to acquire control of the world's largest gas producer, Gazprom. The state is to acquire 10.74 percent of Gazprom shares to gain a controlling interest, paving the way for the long-awaited removal of restrictions on foreigners owning Gazprom stock.

Compiled from staff and news service reports.

U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow, left, and French Economy Minister Thierry Breton met in Paris yesterday. Snow called on Europe to forge ahead with tough economic reforms to promote growth.