American Airlines To Purchase 20 Supersonic Planes From Boom

American Airlines on Tuesday agreed to buy up to 20 ultrafast jets from the aviation startup Boom Supersonic, with an option to purchase 40 more. American becomes third airline to place order for Boom Supersonic jets…

The Overture jets, which promise speeds of up to Mach 1.7 over water – twice the speed of today’s fastest commercial aircraft though still below Concorde’s top speed of Mach 2.04 – are expected to roll off the production line from 2025 and carry the first passengers in 2029. American is the third airline to place an order for the jets, after United Airlines which ordered 15 last year, and Virgin Atlantic, which reached a deal in 2016.

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.”

“Passengers want flights that are faster, more convenient, more sustainable and that’s what Overture delivers,” Scholl told CNBC. “Flight times can be as little as half as what we have today, and that works great in networks like American where we can fly Miami to London in less than five hours.”

The Overture will carry fewer passengers than subsonic passenger jets, with 65 to 88 seats – less capacity than Concorde had – which will initially be priced at business class rates.

Neither Boom nor the airlines have released expected prices, but Scholl previously said tickets would be “affordable.”

He 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 bullshit, and it’s actually affordable.”

Derek Kerr, American’s chief financial officer, said: “Looking to the future, supersonic travel will be an important part of our ability to deliver for our customers. We are excited about how Boom will shape the future of travel both for our company and our customers.”

American is paying Boom an undisclosed amount as a nonrefundable deposit.

Boom says the Overture jet will fly as fast as Mach 1.7, or 1,304 mph, dramatically cutting trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific flight times. According to Boom, a flight from Seattle to Tokyo, which typically takes just over 10 hours, could be completed in six hours in an Overture.

Boom says the new aircraft is designed for a range of 4,250 nautical miles, and could fly about 600 routes around the world. It estimates that flying from London to New York would take 3.5 hours compared with 6.5 hours by current means. London to Miami would take just under five hours, versus the almost nine hours today.

Concorde, which was flown by Air France and British Airways, was retired in 2003 after 27 years of service. It was three years after the aircraft’s only fatal incident when an Air France Concorde flight crashed on takeoff at Paris killing all 109 on board and four on the ground. ✪

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