Japan Airlines Goes Supersonic

An artist's rendering of the Boom supersonic jet Boom Technology

Supersonic jetliner travel, which ended more than a decade ago with the Concorde, has received a boost as Japan Airlines agrees to invest US$10 million ($14.5 million) in United States startup Boom Technology.

Boom Supersonic's hangar is located at Centennia Airport in Colorado.

Boom's idea is to build a 45 - 55 seat aircraft that cruises at Mach 2.2 (1,451 mph), making it capable of whisking passengers between NY and London in about three hours.

Further, there would also be collaboration between the pair to "refine the aircraft design and help define the passenger experience for supersonic travel".

Japan Airlines is the second company to have publicly announced it was holding options in the supersonic jet.

If successful, the aircraft could take passengers from London to NY in just over three hours and from Sydney to Los Angeles in under seven hours.

"Through this partnership, we hope to contribute to the future of supersonic travel with the intent of providing more time to our valued passengers while emphasising flight safety".

The BOOM team aims to have one jet in service by the mid-2020s.
Boom Technology
The BOOM team aims to have one jet in service by the mid-2020s. Boom Technology

Branson's spaceship company, Virgin Galactic, is working with Denver-based Boom to develop its XB-1 jet, which will fly at 1,451mph, 100mph faster than Concorde. Boom is trying to bring supersonic travel to business-class level customers.

The aircraft is expected to be in the use by mid 2020s and will have a range of 8,334 kilometers. "JAL's passionate, visionary team offers decades of practical knowledge and wisdom on everything from the passenger experience to technical operations".

On the Concorde, deep-pocketed passengers could fly the Atlantic at twice the speed of sound from 1976 to 2003.

A total of five airlines, including JAL and Virgin, have committed to buy up to 76 Boom airliners. "We're thrilled to be working with JAL to develop a reliable, easily-maintained aircraft that will provide revolutionary speed to passengers", he added.

As part of the investment in Boom, JAL also has options to purchase as many as 20 of the supersonic planes. Having airline stakeholders closely involved in the development of its aircraft and service plans will work in practice is a huge boon for Boom, which is a very small company with very ambitious goals.

Branson has the rights to the first 10 Boom aircraft produced.

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