Boom Supersonic, the aircraft maker seeking to bring back supersonic commercial flights, has sold 20 jets to American Airlines.
Boom’s Overture four-engine jet promises speeds of up to Mach 1.7 over water —double the speed of the fastest commercial jets operating today. The jet will reportedly be able to fly from Miami to London in just under five hours, four hours faster than the current standard.
The Overture jet can carry 65 to 80 passengers and Boom is expected to start rolling them off its North Carolina production line in 2025. Test flights will follow in 2026 and the company predicts the first passengers will fly on the jet in 2029.
American Airlines is the latest large airline to place an order with Boom. United Airlines agreed to purchase 15 Boom jets last year, and Virgin Atlantic partnered with the company back in 2016.
The most famous example of commercial supersonic flight is the Concorde, which reached speeds of up to Mach 2.04. The Concorde first flew in 1976, but was grounded in 2003 after a number of issues. The flights were extremely expensive, noisy, and used a lot of fuel. They were so loud, the FAA banned them from traveling overland.
In January last year, the FAA issued new rules which made the reintroduction of commercial supersonic flights possible. Other companies are exploring this area. Virgin Galactic developed a supersonic jet in 2020 and NASA and Lockheed Martin are also reportedly designing a competitor.
The major challenges facing both Boom and any other companies in this space are the same as those which brought Concorde back to Earth. Supersonic flight needs to be quieter and cheaper if it is to be successful. Boom has said it is designing noise reduction technology to deal with the first of those problems, and claims it is designing Overture to be 75% cheaper than the cost of Concorde for passengers.