United Airlines has confirmed its commitment to providing faster and more sustainable transatlantic flights by ordering a batch of supersonic aircraft from Boom Supersonic. The Overture airliners will run on 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), and half the time of long-haul flights.
On 3rd June, the American airline announced that it has agreed to purchase 15 Overture airliners from Denver-based Boom Supersonic, with an option to purchase a further 35 at a later stage. Prior to any purchase the aircraft need to satisfy the airline’s sustainability, safety and operational criteria.
Boom Supersonic anticipates that the airliners will roll off the production line by 2025 with test flights starting the following year. Passenger flights are currently scheduled for 2029.
United CEO Scott Kirby said at the announcement, “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 travellers access to a stellar flight experience.
“Our mission has always been about connecting people and now working with Boom, we’ll be able to do that on an even greater scale.”
United’s announcement comes at a time when the airline industry has been criticised for its carbon footprint. It follows the announcement in September last year by Airbus that it is on course to produce a hydrogen plane prototype by 2035.
Running on 100% SAFs, the Overture will be the first large commercial aircraft to be net-zero carbon from day one.
The airliner will also halve current journey times on long-haul flights. Capable of flying at Mach 1.7, they will be twice as fast as current airliners. This means passengers could fly from Newark to London in three-and-a-half hours, or from San Francisco to Tokyo in six hours.
The aircraft will be equipped with in-seat entertainment screens and contactless technology.
Blake Scholl, Boom Supersonic founder and CEO, said of the collaboration, “The world’s first purchase agreement for net-zero carbon supersonic aircraft marks a significant step toward our mission to create a more accessible world.
“United and Boom share a common purpose — to unite the world safely and sustainably. At speeds twice as fast, United passengers will experience all the advantages of life lived in person, from deeper, more productive business relationships to longer, more relaxing vacations to far-off destinations.”