AIRCRAFT: Two New Birds from Europe

European planemakers have stalled out while trying to intercept a larger share of the U.S.-dominated world market. The French sank $130 million into the Mercure mid-range commercial jet, sold only ten of them, and most likely will abandon the plane. A similar fate may well await the Concorde supersonic jetliner, on which much more British and French prestige is riding. Development costs have hit a frightening $2 billion, and the troubled plane's only solid customers so far are the state-owned airlines of the two countries financing it.

Despite these setbacks, however, Europe's...

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