American Airlines announced on Tuesday that it has placed an order with Boom Supersonic for up to 20 supersonic aircraft, with an option for an additional 40 jets. In just two years, American is the second major airline to bet on the return of ultra-fast air travel.
The amount of money involved was not disclosed, but American stated that the deposit on the first 20 aircraft was nonrefundable. That agreement, however, is still subject to change based on the results of American safety testing as well as Boom’s ability to deliver on its promises despite having never built or flown a full-scale supersonic jet before.
If Boom’s Overture jets pass inspection, they will be rolled out in 2025, fly in 2026, and be capable of carrying passengers by 2029. Boom claims that by then, its supersonic jets will be able to travel from New York to London (normally a seven-hour flight) in just 3.5 hours, or from Los Angeles to Sydney (normally a 15-hour trip) in six hours and 45 minutes. Boom has stated that tickets could cost up to $5,000 per seat, but American has not revealed any pricing information.
Boom, a Colorado-based startup, has been working to resurrect commercial supersonic air travel, which has been dormant since Concorde went out of business in the early 2000s.
Aside from American, the company has an agreement to deliver 15 jets to United Airlines, with the option to deliver an additional 35 aircraft based on safety testing. Boom also has agreements or contracts with Rolls-Royce and the US Air Force. The company has received $270 million in funding and preorders from Virgin Group (which is also developing its own supersonic plane) and Japan Airlines.