American Airlines will be going supersonic! American has announced plans to buy up to 20 of Boom’s supersonic planes with the option to buy up to another 40. This deal makes American the latest airline to show formal interest in Boom’s Overture airplane after United and Japan have made similar agreement with Boom in the past.
For those that don’t know Boom, Boom is a new aircraft manufacturer building the next supersonic airplane. Ever since the Concorde was retired, the airline industry has been without a fast, and luxurious product for their customers. Boom is trying to change that.
Boom’s Overture should fly at Mach 1.7, or 1.7 times the speed of sound, and hold up to 80 passengers. This speed will allow airlines to significantly cut down flight times on some of their most popular, and profitable, routes. For example, airlines will be able to fly from NYC to London in 3.5 hours instead of 6.5 hours and from Tokyo to Seattle in 4.5 hours instead of 8.5 hours.
With this speed, American and other airlines are hoping that they will be able to offer a premium product with the guarantee of a quicker flight. Will this be true, I don’t know, but we should find out once these planes take off later in the decade.
While I am personally excited for the return of supersonic jet travel, I won’t get too excited until we see this plane in the air and in American’s livery. It takes a lot for a new plane model to launch, especially one from a new company. Thus, there is still a lot of risk that we won’t see this plane in the sky.
Additionally, I worry about American and the other airlines being able to capture the business customers that would would spend extra for these flights. With a shift to a more virtual way of working, there might be less demand for work travel that justifies spending more for supersonic travel.
While I hope that I am proved wrong, I can’t get completely excited for these new planes until I see them in the sky and flying for American.