American Airlines (Nasdaq: AAL) has agreed to purchase up to 20 Overture supersonic jets from Boom Supersonic, with the new jets expected to provide an “important new speed advantage”.
With customers including Japan Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, the US Air Force and others, Boom’s book contain 35 orders for a total of 130 Overture airplanes, valued at US$26 billion, according to Boom chief executive officer Blake Scholl.
American Airline’s chief financial officer Derek Kerr said supersonic travel is an integral part of the future of flying.
“We are excited about how Boom will shape the future of travel,” he said.
“Looking to the future, supersonic travel will be an important part of our ability to deliver for our customers.”
While the supersonic jets controversially tend to burn more fuel per passenger than regular jets, Boom’s four-engine Overture model can fly from Miami to London in just under five hours – slashing the standard flight time by nearly half.
American Airlines it is yet to release information on ticket prices, warning the new jets aren’t expected to carry passengers until 2029.
As part of the deal, American Airlines has paid a non-refundable deposit on 20 aircrafts, which includes options to acquire an additional 40. Further financial details regarding the purchase remain undisclosed.
American Airlines is not the first company to gamble on supersonic jets – just last year United Airlines made a 15-jet commitment worth US$3 billion, with options for 35 more.
Boom Supersonic manufacturing facility
At the start of the year, Boom announced plans to build a manufacturing facility at North Carolina’s Piedmont Triad International Airport.
The Overture superfactory, is expected to begin construction later this year, with hopes of production commencing in 2024 and first passengers on board jets in 2029.
Despite the critics from environmental groups, Boom remains optimistic Overture will be a “net-zero” aircraft, with its ability to fly on 100% sustainable aviation fuels.
The Overture jets, produced by Boom, are designed to carry 65 to 80 passengers at speeds of Mach 1.7 over water, which is double that of conventional jets.
In May, Boom announced a 10-year agreement with carbon dioxide removal start-up Climeworks in an effort to remove a part of Boom’s residual carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere and permanently store it underground.
The company believes this will help achieve net-zero carbon by 2025.
Supersonic travel in the past
The recent growing interest in supersonic travels comes two decades from the Concorde disaster, flown by Air France and British Airways, which was retired after a deadly crash and high costs of fuel and maintenance amounted.
Following the disaster of that Air France flight 4590 was, Air France grounded its remaining Concordes.
Services were resumed in November 2001, but less than two years later, all Concorde services ceased permanently.