The return of supersonic travel got closer today, with United Airlines revealing plans to add supersonic aircraft to its fleet. In a new partnership with U.S company Boom Supersonic, United will purchase 15 new aircraft – aiming to reduce travel times by half.
United are the first airline to enter a commercial partnership with Boom Supersonic. United CEO Scott Kirby said,
“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 travellers access to a stellar flight experience”.
The U.S airliner will also invest in sustainable commercial technologies to help develop green supersonic travel.
Supersonic travel is on its way
It’s clear that United see supersonic travel as a big part of its future operations. Once safety all regulations are met, United will acquire 15 of Boom’s Mach 1.7, 55-passenger ‘Overture’ airliners, with an option for an additional 35.
And supersonic fanatics have every right to be excited about this new move. Overture has an earth-shattering 1,000 kn; 1,800 km/h speeds and a range of 4250nm (8,300 km). According to Boom, the new supersonic airliner will connect over 500 destinations, reducing travel times by 50%.
This will see journeys like Newark to London reduced to just three and a half hours. Boom Supersonic CEO, Blake Scholl stated,
“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”.
We can expect to see its rollout by 2025 and its first flights in 2026. Passengers should expect the chance to travel on Overture with United Airlines by 2029. Orders for Overture are already pouring in, with 70 aircraft set for different companies, including the United States Air Force.
With proposed design features including state-of-the-art in-seat entertainment screens and generous personal space, flying on Overture is set to be a genuinely top-class experience.
Preparing for a greener future
Overture’s signature feature might be its net-zero carbon emissions. This innovation defines it from the supersonic passenger aircraft of the past. Towards the end of its lifespan, one of the main criticisms of Concorde was its significant fuel burn which produced large carbon emissions.
Overture, however, will use 100% sustainable aviation fuel right from the get-go. Currently, this makes it the first large commercial aircraft to achieve this feat. Kirby said,
“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”.
The new partnership between Boom and United will see an increase in the production of SAF. Scholl described this as a “significant step toward our mission to create a more accessible world”.
Making supersonic travel sustainable could be a massive step in making ultra-fast flight speeds possible for all passengers.
Words by Jonathan Ritchie
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