American Airlines has announced that it has signed a deal to purchase up to 20 supersonic passenger aircraft from Boom Supersonic, an American company that aims to become the first to bring back supersonic commercial air travel. The agreement also includes the option to further expand the order by additional 40 jets. According to American, “Boom must meet industry-standard operating, performance and safety requirements as well as American’s other customary conditions before delivery of any Overtures.” This comes a year after United Airlines also agreed to purchase 15 Boom Supersonic jets, making American Airlines the second major airline operator to bet on the return of supersonic air travel. “Looking to the future, supersonic travel will be an important part of our ability to deliver for our customers,” said Derek Kerr, American’s Chief Financial Officer. “We are excited about how Boom will shape the future of travel both for our company and our customers.”
According to the announcement, American has paid a non-refundable deposit on the initial 20 aircraft, which is quite interesting. This is indicative of the confidence shown by the world’s largest airline company in Boom Supersonic and its Overture jets. It also in a way suggests we might be really close to getting back supersonic passenger air travel which has been missing for almost two decades. The iconic Concorde supersonic jet made its last flight in 2003 and was retired after being in service for a little less than 35 years. Since then, there have been many companies and start-ups that are trying to solve the issues that plagued the Concorde and re-introduce superfast air travel.
Boom Supersonic was founded in 2014 with the single-point agenda to build supersonic jets. Their Overture jet is being designed to carry 65 to 80 passengers at Mach 1.7 over water, which is twice the speed of today’s fastest commercial aircraft. The company also recently claimed that the Overture is being built with the aim to fly more than 600 routes around the world in as little as half the time. The journey from Miami to London will take under five hours, while the flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu will be completed in three hours. If everything goes to plan, Boom plans to roll out the first Overture jet in 2025, fly in 2026, and conduct the first commercial passenger flight by 2029.