Science

American Airlines orders 20 Boom Supersonic passenger jets

American Airlines has agreed to buy 20 Boom Supersonic Overture passenger aircraft, which are expected to carry passengers at twice the speed of conventional passenger aircraft.

The world’s largest airline, American Airlines, has made a non-refundable deposit of an undisclosed amount for 20 Overture aircraft from Denver-based aerospace manufacturer Boom Supersonic. The Overture is designed to fly at speeds up to Mach 1.7, or about 1227 miles per hour (1975 km/h). (Mach 1 is the speed of sound.) The planes are expected to have a range of over 4,890 miles (7,870 kilometers) and be able to carry 65 to 80 passengers from Paris to Montreal in just 3 hours and 45 minutes, according to Boom Supersonic. (will open in a new tab).

Under terms agreed between American Airlines and Boom Supersonic, the supersonic aircraft manufacturer must prove that Overture meets all industry safety, operational and performance standards before any aircraft is delivered. In the future, the airline has an option to purchase another 40 aircraft.

RELATED: Boom Supersonic and Northrop Grumman Team Up to Build Ultra-Fast US Military Aircraft

The Boom Supersonic Overture passenger aircraft has a tapered fuselage with a larger diameter at the front than at the rear. The company claims that this design helps to minimize the aircraft’s drag while also optimizing fuel efficiency. Four jet engines mounted under the wings will give the Overture a top speed of over Mach 1.7 over water and just under Mach 1 over land. (Current restrictions set by the Federal Aviation Administration prohibit flying faster than Mach 1. (will open in a new tab) above the ground to reduce the noise generated by sonic booms.)

“We are proud to share our vision for a more connected and sustainable world with American Airlines,” said Boom CEO and founder Blake Scholl. (will open in a new tab). “We believe Overture can help American enhance its competitive advantage in network, loyalty and overall airline preference through the paradigm-changing benefits of cutting travel time in half.”

Derek Kerr, CFO of American Airlines, added that the airline is “excited about how Boom will shape the future of travel for both our company and our customers.”

The current agreement to supply 20 aircraft (with an option to purchase 40 more) builds on a previous commercial agreement signed by the two companies in 2021 for an initial 15 Overture aircraft, with an option to purchase 35 more.

Boom Supersonic also entered into an agreement with Northrop Grumman to supply variants of the Overture aircraft for military and emergency operations.

Despite these agreements, the Boom Supersonic is still in pre-flight testing. The company hopes to begin production of the Overture aircraft by 2024 and make its first flight by 2026. The company’s other supersonic aircraft, the XB-1 technology demonstrator, plans to make its first flight in late 2022.

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