US airline orders 20 Concorde-like supersonic jets to ‘cut travel times in half’


American Airlines has agreed to purchase the 20 Supersonic Overture passenger jets from Denver-based aerospace manufacturer Boom Supersonic. The ultra-fast aircrafts can zip through the air at staggering speeds of up to Mach 1.7 (Mach 1 representing the speed of sound), which is around 1,227mph (1,975kph). According to Boom Supersonic, the jets are projected to have a range of over 4,890 miles (7,870 kilometers).

They are expected to be able to carry between 65 and 80 passengers from Paris to Montreal in just three hours and 45 minutes, a journey which usually takes seven hours and 35 minutes.

The jets could also take you from Newark, New Jersey, to London in just three-and-a-half hours, usually taking around seven.

While the jet is still in the early stages of development, Boom recently unveiled a “refined’ version of the aircraft.

It is also yet to conduct a test flight, with the first production vehicles not expected until 2025.

Blake Scholl, the founder and chief executive of Boom, said: “We believe Overture can help American deepen its competitive advantage on network, loyalty and overall airline preference through the paradigm-changing benefits of cutting travel times in half.”

American Airlines also has the option to purchase 20 more of the jets, but this depends on whether jet builder Boom Supersonic makes good on its promise.

It comes after United Airlines announced a deal to buy 15 supersonic jets back in June.

The company plans to carry passengers on the speedy aircrafts by 2029.

However, experts warned that it may not ever make economic sense for airlines to carry out commercial supersonic flights.

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Richard Aboulafia, aerospace analyst with the Teal Group, said: “You need to find enough full-fare premium passengers to justify the aircraft. Good luck with that.”

Six years ago, Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic announced that it was partnering with Boom in a bid to bring back supersonic transatlantic passenger flights at an “affordable price”.

A Virgin Group spokeswoman said at the time: “Richard has long expressed interest in developing high-speed flight and building high speed flight R&D through Virgin Galactic and our manufacturing organization, The Spaceship Company.

“We can confirm that The Spaceship Company will provide engineering, design and manufacturing services, flight tests and operations and that we have an option on the first 10 airframes.

“It is still early days and just the start of what you’ll hear about our shared ambitions and efforts.”

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The Overture is said to be similar to the Concorde, the super-fast and ultra-precise jet that was taken out of service in 2003 due to economic issues.

Issues also arose as the planes would generate screeching sonic booms as the flew over land at ultra-fast speeds.

Mr Scholl has previously said: “I started this because I was sad that I never got to fly on Concorde. I waited but no one was doing it, so I decided to. Ultimately I want people to be able to get anywhere in the world in five hours for $100 (£83).

“To get there you have to improve fuel efficiency, but step by step supersonic air travel will become available for everyone. This is supersonic passenger air travel, no bull****, and it’s actually affordable.”



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