Tackling climate change means coming up with a much more eco-friendly way to fly, and United Airlines has decided to bet on a supersonic future through a new deal with Boom Supersonic.
As TechCrunch reports, United Airlines has become the first US customer for Boom, which is developing Overture, expected to be the world’s first net-zero carbon supersonic aircraft when it is ready for passenger travel in 2029. United placed an order for 15 Overture aircraft, but has the option of purchasing a further 35. However, the whole deal hinges on Overture meeting “United’s demanding safety, operating and sustainability requirements.”
The deal is a savvy move by United if Boom can deliver the Overture on time and to spec. The supersonic jet will fly on 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), but also cuts travel time in half. Flying from New York to Londin will take just three and a half hours, for example. It cruises at 60,000 feet, reaches speeds of Mach 1.7, and has a range of 4,888 miles meaning even Los Angeles to Sydney is in reach. The one limiting factor? Passenger capacity is limited to just 88.
Speaking about the deal, Scott Kirby, CEO of United Airlines said, “United continues on its trajectory to build a more innovative, sustainable airline and today’s advancements in technology are making it more viable for that to include supersonic planes. Boom’s vision for the future of commercial aviation, combined with the industry’s most robust route network in the world, will give business and leisure travelers access to a stellar flight experience.”
The focus now will be on Boom hitting its targets for Overture, with the supersonic jet expected to rollout in 2025 and take its first flight in 2026, before providing supersonic passenger travel in 2029. There’s also the logistics of ensuring sustainable fuel is available at every airport United Airlines intends to land its 15 Overture aircraft eight years from now.