Take more trains and fewer planes. That's what Sarah Kendrew pledged to herself a few years ago. An astronomer at the Netherlands' Leiden Observatory, she travels frequently to nearby countries on business -- and prefers to not leave vapor trails in the sky when doing so.
Robert Milton had barely heard of Mauricio Botelho when a small box arrived on his desk in April 2001. The return address read São José dos Campos, Brazil. Milton, then CEO of Air Canada, slit open the box and pulled out a hand-sized DVD player. He flipped it open, turned it on, and felt the disk start to spin. Up on the screen popped the face of a man wearing gold-framed glasses and an impish smile. "Hello, Robert," the man said. It was Botelho, the CEO of Brazilian airplane manufacturer Embraer, saying he'd like Air Canada to buy a few of his new planes. At that moment, the virtual Botelho said, a truck was making the rounds in North America, carrying a mockup of the interior for a family of planes that could seat 70 to 118 passengers, with no middle seats. "Mr. Milton," Botelho said, "we'd love it if you'd just take a look." Milton thought this was a little nuts. Air Canada's headquarters in Montreal are next door to the headquarters of Bombardier, Embraer's arch foe in the regional-jet market. How cou