United Airlines to buy 15 ultrafast jets from Boom Supersonic
CNBC — United Airlines wants to turn the friendly skies into the superfast skies with the addition of 15 supersonic airplanes.
The airline company announced Thursday it’s buying the planes from Boom Supersonic, with the option to buy 35 more at some point.
Boom’s first commercial supersonic jet, the Overture, has not been built or certified yet. It is aiming to begin passenger service in 2029 with a plane that could fly at Mach 1.7 and cut some flight times in half. That means a flight from New York to London that typically lasts seven hours would only take 3 and a half hours.
“Boom’s vision for the future of commercial aviation, combined with the industry’s most robust network in the world, will give business and leisure travelers access to a stellar flight experience,” United CEO Scott Kirby said.
While the terms of the sale were not disclosed, the companies believe the deal will generate immediate benefits.
For Denver-based Boom Supersonic founder and CEO Blake Scholl, landing a firm order with a legacy airline validates his vision of bringing back supersonic flights.
The supersonic Concorde flew commercial flights from 1976 until October 2003.
“The world’s first purchase agreement for net-zero carbon supersonic aircraft marks a significant step toward our mission to create a more accessible world,” Scholl said.
Part of what made buying supersonic jets appealing to United is Boom’s plan to power the planes with engines that will run on sustainable aviation fuel.
Still, time will tell whether Boom’s plan to bring back supersonic commercial airplanes will get off the ground.
The jet is set to make its first flight this year with a demonstrator jet called the XB-1. If it goes as planned, Boom will begin production of the Overture in 2023 and conduct its first flight in 2026. The ultimate hurdle will be winning certification by regulators, including the Federal Aviation Administration.
When that happens, United expects to target long-haul international flights between key large cities around the world, like San Francisco to Tokyo and New York to Paris.
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