The Boom Overture supersonic aircraft just got some much-needed support as United Airlines signed an agreement for up to 50 aircraft. But of course there are some conditions to this deal.
The deal between United Airlines and Boom Supersonic is a purchase agreement for 15 of the aircraft. There are also options for another 35 of the same Overture jets. The rollout of the first aircraft should happen in 2025, according to Boom, with its first flight coming in 2026. The company then expects for the plane’s certification to come by 2029.
We recently saw how the company plans to develop its supersonic aircraft. Boom’s Overture, that United Airlines signed on for, will be their second aircraft. The first is the Boom XB-1. Its rollout already took place last October. The company has not yet announced when its first flight will be, but it should come soon.
United Airlines And The Boom Supersonic Overture
As we saw, Boom partners with Rolls-Royce, to power its supersonic Overture tri-jet. Both companies committed to making the aircraft compatible with 100% sustainable aviation fuels (SAF). This ties in nicely with United Airlines’ commitments, making Boom’s supersonic jet even more attractive.
Scott Kirby, United’s CEO, 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. 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.”
One condition in Boom’s deal with United Airlines is that the Overture supersonic jet meets “safety, operating and sustainability requirements”. Before that, the aircraft obviously has to fly in a configuration that can reach certification. If it does, the potential for fast ocean-crossing flights, is very tempting, and Boom offers some examples. Newark to Heathrow in 3:30 instead of 6:30 hours, or San Francisco to Tokyo in 6:00 instead of 10:15 hours. So the Overture has challenging speed AND range targets.
A Viable Premium Offering?
As we explained previously, the Overture will be an all-business class aircraft, with a capacity of 65-88 passengers. But very much unlike the Concorde, United Airlines’ business-class passengers on its supersonic Boom flights, will also pay business-class prices. While this doesn’t make the Overture “an aircraft for the masses”, it should be viable in many more routes.
Boom has not made any claims regarding quiet supersonic speeds. This is in contrast with the ill-fated Aerion AS2, or the upcoming NASA X-59 QueSST. This means that United Airlines will stick to overwater supersonic routes for its Boom Overture fleet. However, Boom and United claim that it will still be possible to “connect 500+ cities” with the aircraft.
The financial details of the agreement between Boom Supersonic and United Airlines are not yet known. There certainly are a lot of design and technical challenges for the project. Hopefully, soon we will learn more. And until we do, we have the first flight of the Boom XB-1 to look forward to! Beyond the Overture, Boom has more long-term targets, for bigger, faster and more affordable aircraft.
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Supersonic airliners? Tri-jets? It’s the ’60s again!