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American Airlines agrees to purchase 20 supersonic jets




However, it remains unclear exactly how big that bet is. American Airlines said it would pay deposits for up to 20 supersonic jets and had the option to buy up to 20 more, but declined to share the financial terms of the deal, which was announced Tuesday.

But it all depends on Boom Supersonic, the company that will build the jet, can live up to its lofty promises. Experts question whether supersonic jets could make a comeback.

Boom is developing a jet called Overture that can carry 65 to 80 passengers at nearly twice the speed of sound.

But jets are still in the early stages of development. Boom recently unveiled a “refined” version of the aircraft. It is said to have completed several wind tunnel tests. However, it has yet to conduct test flights and the first production vehicles are not expected to roll off the line until 2025, according to a press release.

The Overture is reminiscent of the Concorde, a super-fast, very expensive jet that crossed the Atlantic at as much as $10,000 per seat. The Concorde, in particular, went out of service in 2003 after failing economically. Fuel-hungry jets produce deafening sonic booms at high speeds, and because they have to cross the ocean, such as the popular London-to-New York route, they are too noisy to fly over land. It was too big. Experts say jets like the Concorde are unlikely to return. One reason is that these jets need to find enough customers willing to give up premium price points. But that hasn’t stopped Boom, American, and United Airlines, which announced plans to buy up to 15 of Boom’s jets last year, from pouring money and marketing power into plans to revive supersonic air travel.

Boom says its jets could be in service by 2029, and while they won’t be the fastest on land, the company claims they can travel up to 20% faster than current commercial jets.

“Flying from Miami to London in under five hours and from Los Angeles to Honolulu in three hours is one of many possibilities,” claims Boom.

But foreign regulators and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, which regulates commercial airlines, must first approve the jet. And it’s not clear when or if that will happen.

After the Concorde’s financial failure, both airlines and aircraft manufacturers have focused on improving efficiency rather than speed.

For example, Boeing abandoned plans for a near-supersonic jet, the Sonic Cruiser, in the early 2000s and shifted its focus to developing a lighter, more fuel-efficient jumbo jet, the 787 Dreamliner. (Of course, the 787 has its own set of problems.) But the U.S. government is interested in bringing back supersonic jets. The FAA says on its website that it is currently working to establish new road rules for such aircraft, including acceptable noise levels on land. NASA also wants to fund the development of a “quiet” supersonic jet called the X-59 and hand over the technology to the commercial sector. But even the first prototype has yet to fly, and the first tests aren’t scheduled until later this year.




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