American Airlines buys supersonic planes that cut travel time from London to New York in half

American Airlines buys supersonic planes that cut travel time from London to New York in half

American Airlines has ordered 20 planes from Boom Supersonic

American Airlines ordered 20 planes from Boom Supersonic (Image: AP)

A major airline is making a big bet on high-speed intercontinental travel.

American Airlines finalized a deal with Boom Supersonic to buy 20 supersonic commercial jets on Tuesday.

Last year, Boom sold 15 planes to United Airlines. It also received a $10 million investment from Japan Airlines.

However, the Denver, Colorado-based company has yet to produce a working plane. Boom’s first plane, the Overture, only exists on the drawing board.

The Overture is a four-engine commercial airliner that carries between 65 and 88 passengers and is expected to fly about 1,300 miles per hour, or 1.7 times the speed of sound.

Tickets for an Overture flight are expected to be priced at $4,000 to $5,000 for a 3.5-hour flight from New York to London.

Currently, a standard aircraft takes an average of almost seven hours to fly the same route.

American Airlines also plans to use the supersonic planes on other trips abroad, including a three-hour trip from Los Angeles to Honolulu and a five-hour trip from Miami to London, the company said.

The planes will also reportedly have a net zero carbon footprint, using only sustainable aviation fuel made from plant material.

“Looking ahead, supersonic travel will be an important part of our ability to deliver for our customers,” said American Airlines Chief Financial Officer Derek Kerr.

However, critics point out that Boom hasn’t even designed or produced an engine for Overture yet. The company is currently in talks with Rolls Royce to supply the engines, according to reports.

Others point to the high price of sustainable aviation fuel, which currently sells for around $8.67 a gallon, more than double the price of jet fuel per gallon, according to a report.

Other critics say Boom’s production schedule is too ambitious, even though the planes ordered by American Airlines won’t be ready to carry passengers until 2029.

Boom is not the first company to market supersonic aircraft for commercial use. For decades, Air France and British Airways flew the Concorde, a supersonic plane capable of crossing the Atlantic at comparable speeds.

Concorde was first designed in the 1970s and made its first commercial voyage in 1976. A total of seven aircraft flew commercial routes between Paris Charles de Gaulle, London Heathrow, Washington Dulles and New York’s JFK.

The Concorde was retired in 2003. Despite its speed, high consumer prices meant the planes never caught on with the general public.

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