World’s biggest airline orders 30 ‘son of Concorde’ supersonic jets
The world’s biggest airline has announced a deal to buy a fleet of new high-tech jets dubbed the “son of Concorde”, setting up the return of supersonic transatlantic flights by the end of the decade.
American Airlines on Tuesday agreed to purchase up to 20 Overture aircraft from Boom Supersonic, with an option to extend the order to 40.
The jets are expected to carry passengers from 2029 on routes such as Miami to London and Los Angeles to Honolulu.
It would mark a return of supersonic transatlantic travel after a near-30 year hiatus, following the retirement of Concorde by British Airways in 2003.
Boom says the Overture will carry 65 to 80 passengers and travel twice as fast as most commercial aircraft, boasting a cruising speed of mach 1.7 - roughly 1,300 miles per hour.
This will reduce journey times between London and New York from six and a half hours to three and a half hours.
A flight between London and Miami would also be cut from about nine and a half hours to less than five.
American, which is the world’s biggest airline by fleet size, said it had paid a deposit for the new jets, which are expected to begin rolling off production lines from 2025.
They will give the carrier “an important new speed advantage”, a statement said.
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.”
The order from American comes just weeks after Boom unveiled a separate deal with US defence contractor Northrop Grumman to develop a military version of the Overture.
United Airlines and Japan Airlines have also placed orders for the yet-to-launch jets.
Boom’s planes have been nicknamed “son of Concorde” after the last supersonic passenger jet, developed jointly by the UK and France.
The Anglo-French project was shelved after a fatal crash at Charles de Gaulle airport in July 2000.
Demand for the flights also began to wane as City and Wall Street banks baulked at paying £7,000 a seat to ferry executives across the Atlantic at faster-than-sound speeds.
Supersonic travel is inefficient compared to subsonic flight because of the extra fuel needed for higher speeds.
It is a tough sell at a time when the industry is going to great lengths to lower emissions.
Boom says it will use so-called sustainable aviation fuel to limit its carbon output.
Blake Scholl, the company’s chief executive, said: “We are proud to share our vision of a more connected and sustainable world with American Airlines.
“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.”