United Airlines has today announced that it has signed an agreement with Boom Supersonic, a startup that has been working on developing a commercial supersonic jet, to purchase 15 Boom Overture supersonic aircraft with an option to buy 35 additional airliners.
United has said that the order of 15 aircraft is dependent on Boom Supersonic meeting the airline’s demands for safety, operating and sustainability requirements.
United continues on its trajectory to build a more innovative, sustainable airline and today’s advancements in technology are making it more viable for that to include supersonic planes. Boom’s vision for the future of commercial aviation, combined with the industry’s most robust route network in the world, will give business and leisure travelers access to a stellar flight experience. Our mission has always been about connecting people and now working with Boom, we’ll be able to do that on an even greater scale.Said Scott Kirby, CEO of United Airlines
The startup that is building on Concorde’s legacy, said that the plane would be considered net-zero carbon, as it is going to fly on 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).
The world’s first order of net-zero carbon supersonic aircraft marks a significant step toward our mission to create a more accessible world. At speeds twice as fast, United passengers will experience all the advantages of life lived in person, from deeper, more productive business relationships to longer, more relaxing vacations to far-off destinations.Said Blake Scholl, founder and CEO of Boom Supersonic
At speeds twice as fast as today’s passenger jets, Overture will be able to cut the traveling time down to half. With a flight from New York to London taking 3:30hrs instead of 6:30hrs, while a flight from San Francisco to Tokyo taking 6hrs instead of 10:15hrs, and New York to Frankfurt taking 4:00hrs instead of 7:00hrs.
The prototype Overture aircraft is expected to roll out in 2025 and make its first flight the following year, before finally entering commercial service in 2029.
What is Boom Supersonic Overture Jet?
Here are some specifications of the supersonic jet:
- It will have a capacity of 65 to 88 all-business class seats, with every seat having direct aisle access and a personal window
- It will have a cruising altitude of 60,000 ft. To provide some comparison, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner cruises at a maximum altitude of around 35,000 ft
- It will have a speed of Mach 1.7 (Mach is used for calculating the speed of sound, 1.7 Mach is equal to 2099 km per hour)
- It will have a flying range of 4250 nautical miles (7871 kilometers)
- The plane will be 205ft long
- It will have net-zero carbon emissions
What do I make of this announcement from United Airlines?
While United Airlines’ announcement provides some much-needed legitimacy to the startup’s plans, it is still a considerably low-risk deal for the airline given that it is contingent on the demands being met.
As for the claims of net-zero carbon, it seems far-fetched, and while not particularly naming Boom, but critics have stated that such a project would be detrimental to the environment.
United Airlines is the first U.S. based commercial airline to be associated with the company, but it is not the first to do so in the world, Japan Airlines invested $10 million in the company in 2018.
Overall, as much joy as it brings me to see such progressive developments taking place in the world of aviation, I wouldn’t be surprised if it doesn’t end up going any further than this.
What are your thoughts on this? Do you think we will ever see Boom Overture take flight? And will it ever fly United Airlines livery?