June 4, 2021: -United Airlines plans to turn the friendly skies into ultrafast skies with the addition of supersonic jets. On Thursday, the carrier announced it was buying 15 planes from Boom Supersonic with the option to purchase 35 more at a point.
The first commercial supersonic jet of Boom, the Overture, has not been built or certified yet. However, it targets the start of passenger service in 2029 with a plane that could fly at Mach 1.7 and cut few flight times in half. A flight from New York to London that seven hours would only take 3½ hours.
“Vision of Boom for the future of commercial aviation, combined with the most robust network of the industry in the world, will give access to the business and leisure travelers to a stellar flight experience,” United CEO Scott Kirby said in a release while announcing the deal.
While the sale terms are not disclosed, the companies believe the deal will generate immediate benefits.
After it was founded in 2014, Denver-based Boom Supersonic has increased $270 million in capital and has grown to 150 employees. For founder and CEO Blake Scholl, which lands a firm order with a legacy airline, validates his vision to bring back supersonic flights.
The supersonic Concorde flew commercial flights from the year 1976 until October 2003.
“The world’s first purchase of agreement for net-zero carbon supersonic aircraft marks a significant step toward our mission to create a more accessible world,” Scholl said in a statement.
For United, ordering Boom supersonic jets fits with Kirby’s strategy since becoming CEO a year ago.
The company plans to make its first flight this year with a demonstrator jet called the XB-1. If it is going according to the plan, Boom will begin production of the Overture in the year 2023 and conduct its first flight in 2026. This hurdle will be winning certification by regulators, which include the Federal Aviation Administration.
When that happens, United expects to target long-haul international flights amid the key large cities worldwide, like San Francisco to Tokyo and New York to Paris.
United vice president of corporate development Mike Leskinen said the Overture could dramatically alter some of the airline’s busiest international routes. “If we can cut the time to fly from the East Coast of the U.S. to certain cities in Europe and do it with lower emissions, we think that’s very attractive,” he said.