Supersonic speed – mainstream fares
That’s the promise of Boom, a Colorado startup that’s developing a new supersonic plane that’s faster than the Concorde and, critically, much more economical to operate.
To put some numbers to that claim, the company boasts it will be able to fly from New York to London in just over 3 hours, for $5,000 roundtrip. Flights between San Francisco and Tokyo would take just 4.7 hours. And Los Angeles-Sydney could be covered in 6 hours.
The flight times, traveling at Mach 2.2 (1,451 mph), are less than half those associated with conventional commercial jets. And the $5,000 price tag, for what is being envisioned as a business-class service, is in line with current business-class fares.
So, how will the Boom jet succeed where the Concorde failed? According to the company, “Nearly six decades after the dawn of the jet age, we finally have the technology for efficient, economical, and safe supersonic flight. Key technologies, such as composite fuselages and high-temperature material systems, have only recently been accepted by the FAA for commercial aircraft.”
The 45-seat all-business-class planes will be priced at around $200 million, plus options and interior appointments. And lest you dismiss Boom as pie-in-the-sky, Richard Branson’s Virgin Group has optioned 10 of the supersonic jets, for $2 billion.
The first flight is planned for late 2017. You’ll know: Just listen for the “boom” when it breaks the sound barrier.
Reader Reality Check
Will you be among the first to book a flight on a Boom plane?
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After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.