American Airlines to buy supersonic jets in ultra-fast travel push

Boom Supersonic says Overture aircraft can transport customers at twice the speed of today's commercial jets

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American Airlines on Tuesday agreed to purchase up to 20 supersonic jets and put down a non-refundable deposit on the planes that are still years away from flying.

The agreement with manufacturer Boom Supersonic includes the option to purchase an additional 40 Overture aircraft.

The companies said Overture would transport customers at twice the speed of today's fastest commercial aircraft.

“Looking to the future, supersonic travel will be an important part of our ability to deliver for our customers,” said Derek Kerr, chief financial officer at American Airlines.

“We are excited about how Boom will shape the future of travel both for our company and our customers.”

Boom's Overture jet is expected to carry its first passengers by 2029. The company said the supersonic jet could deliver customers from Miami to London in under five hours, and from Los Angeles to Hawaii in three hours.

The jet is expected to carry between 65 and 80 passengers at Mach 1.7 over water.

“We believe Overture can help American deepen its competitive advantage on network, loyalty and overall airline preference through the paradigm-changing benefits of cutting travel times in half,” said Blake Scholl, founder and chief executive of Boom.

The era of ultra-fast commercial jets appeared to come to an end in 2003 when British Airways and AirFrance retired their Concorde fleet, citing operating costs and reduced ticket sales.

United Airlines last year agreed to a similar deal with Boom, announcing it would purchase 15 Overture jets once safety, sustainability and operating requirements were met. United has the option to purchase an additional 35 supersonic jets.

The manufacturer, based in Denver, Colorado, plans to run the supersonic jet on 100 per cent sustainable aviation fuel, but said little on who would make the engines that power the aircraft.

The company does not yet have an engine manufacturer lined up, though it is in talks with Rolls-Royce and others.

Updated: August 17, 2022, 4:25 AM