United Airlines aims to have supersonic flights by 2029
United Airlines said it plans to acquire 15 Boom Supersonic jets, with an option for 35 more aircraft.
United Airlines aims to bring supersonic travel backbefore the end of this decade, with an aircraft that is currently just a sketch. What's more, not even the prototype has taken off.
The airline said Thursday that it plans to acquire 15 Boom Supersonic jets, with an option for 35 more aircraft once the fledgling company designs an aircraft capable of breaking the sound barrier and meeting environmental and safety standards.
United hopes to carry passengers on the plane by 2029. The airline said the plane will cut flight times between London and the New York area to just three and a half hours, and reach Tokyo from San Francisco in just six hours.
United declined to disclose financial terms, but Boom CEO Blake Scholl said the deal was for $ 3 billion, or $ 200 million per aircraft, without the usual industry discount.
Almost two decades have passed since the last flight of the supersonic Concorde, which British Airways and Air France began using in 1976 to carry passengers with all the luxuries from one side of the Atlantic to the other. The last aircraft of its kind was retired in 2003, three years after an Air France Concorde crashed into a hotel shortly after taking off from Paris, killing everyone on board and four others on the ground.
Several companies are working to create new supersonic jets that, compared to the Concorde, would use less fuel and create fewer emissions that affect climate change.
Boom is working to develop an 88-seat aircraft called the Overture, which the company claims would be the first supersonic aircraft to fly on "sustainable fuel." Scholl said that a prototype - one-third its actual size - would make its first test flight later this year or early 2022.
The Denver-based company said the plane will be capable of reaching 1.7 times the speed of sound, or 2,092 km / h (1,300 mph). That's less than the Concorde, but more than double that of most commercial jets today.
United's endorsement represents a huge boost for Boom. A competing company, Aerion, said last month that it was running out of funds for the production of its supersonic aircraft, the AS2.
Supersonic jets are generally prohibited from flying through populated areas due to the sonic blasts they create. That rules out many possible routes, since there the planes would have to fly at subsonic speeds, which is much less efficient.