Is The Future of Air Travel Supersonic?


As we hopefully head out of the pandemic, air travel has begun to change in sometimes small and sometimes very big ways.

Smaller changes include the extension of the federal mask mandate, which has been extended for all public transportation until at least January 2022, while bigger changes include many airlines’, like American, JetBlue and LATAM Air, push towards becoming more sustainable, creating strategies to limit and ban single-use plastics and to achieve carbon neutrality.

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The newest big thing could change the industry forever.

Supersonic commercial air travel is, according to aerospace startup Boom Supersonic, coming to airports near you in the future, with commercial flights expected by 2029.

What is supersonic travel? It’s not a new technology, like Virgin Galactic’s and Amazon founder Jeff Bezo’s reusable rockets. Supersonic flights, which travel at speed faster than the speed of sound itself, have been around since the 1970s, with the SST Concorde being flown by British Airways and Air France until 2003.

According to Reuters, the new startup is aiming at making supersonic air travel accessible for all, not just those who can afford an astronomical price to shave off some hours in the air. Its first plane, the Boom Overture, will one day be able to fly between New York and London in three and a half hours, and between San Francisco and Tokyo in only six hours.

The startup has gained quite a lot of traction; while its factory will be built in 2022, it has already partnered with United Airlines to provide fifteen of its planes for use when they are approved by the FAA.

This partnership is created in part to help the airline satisfy its push to become more sustainable, as Boom Supersonic’s planes will be operated with completely sustainable fuel, with no carbon emissions. According to the company, its fuel will instead use carbon harvested from the atmosphere.

Blake Scholl, chief executive and founder of Boom Supersonic, told Reuters: “You know our ultimate goal is high speed flight for everybody. To make the fastest flight also the most affordable…that is what we are going to see happen here. Supersonic flight is going to displace subsonic flight as the best way for everyone to travel over long distances.”


Boom Supersonic
Rendering of the Boom Overture’s inside cabin (photo via Boom Supersonic)

It will begin test flights on a smaller model of its Overture planes in 2022, while its to-scale planes will begin testing in 2025 for approval by 2029.

Back in 2020, the FAA had begun developing new regulations and standards for supersonic aircraft, seemingly in preparation for Boom Supersonic’s and other companies’ planes, introducing things like new noise standards, as supersonic planes are known for being loud as they break the sound barrier. These new regulations apply for any aircraft traveling a maximum of Mach 1.8, or 1,381 miles per hour.

It is possible that supersonic air travel will become the main method of air travel in the future. As more airlines push to become more sustainable, and as the demand for faster travel grows, more airlines could partner with Boom Supersonic or other aerospace companies to provide new, greener and faster planes.

For more information, please visit Boom Supersonic.





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