Commercial supersonic transatlantic travel is set to return nearly 20 years after Concorde was decommissioned.
American Airlines agreed on Tuesday to buy up to 20 superfast jets from aviation startup Boom Supersonic, with an option to buy 40 more.
Overture jets, which promise speeds of up to Mach 1.7 over water – twice the speed of today’s fastest commercial jets, albeit below Mach 2.04 du Concorde – should roll off the production line from 2025 and carry the first passengers in 2029. Concorde flew at a maximum speed of Mach 2.04
American is the third airline to place an order for the jets, following United Airlines, which ordered 15 last year, and Virgin Atlantic, which struck a deal in 2016.
Blake Scholl, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Boom, said, “We believe Overture can help American deepen its competitive advantage in network, loyalty and overall airline preference through the game-changing benefits of the Airline Halving. Travel time.”
The Overture will carry fewer passengers than subsonic passenger jets, with 65 to 88 seats – a lower capacity than the Concorde – which will initially be priced at business class fares.
Neither Boom nor the airlines have released expected prices, but Scholl had previously said tickets would be “affordable”.
He said: “I started this because I was sad that I never got to fly Concorde. I waited but no one was doing it, so I decided to do it. Ultimately, I want people to be able to get anywhere in the world in five hours for $100 (£83). To get there, you need to improve fuel efficiency, but step by step, supersonic aircraft travel will become accessible to everyone. It’s supersonic air travel, no bullshit, and it’s actually affordable.
Derek Kerr, Chief Financial Officer of American, said, “Looking forward, supersonic travel will be an important part of our ability to deliver to our customers. We are excited about how Boom will shape the future of travel for both our business and our customers.
Boom says the new plane is designed for a range of 4,250 nautical miles and could fly about 600 routes around the world. He estimates that the flight from London to New York would take 3.5 hours compared to 6.5 hours by current means. London-Miami would take just under five hours, compared to nearly nine hours today.
Under the terms of the agreement, Boom must meet industry-standard operational, performance, and safety requirements and other customary American requirements prior to delivery of any Overture.
Asked about the carbon footprint of these flights, a Boom spokesperson said the company prioritizes “circularity by repurposing used tools, recycling components in the shop and leveraging additive manufacturing that result in less manufacturing waste and lighter, more fuel-efficient products.” .
The company aims to achieve net zero carbon dioxide by 2025 and net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040, and says flights will fly on “up to 100% sustainable” aviation fuel.
The Concorde, which was flown by Air France and British Airways, retired in 2003 after 27 years of service. It was three years after the plane’s only fatal incident when an Air France Concorde flight crashed on takeoff in Paris, killing all 109 people on board and four on the ground.