United Airlines Has Unveiled Plans for a Supersonic Fleet

The airline has announced their intent to purchase 15 of Boom Supersonic's 88-seat Overture jets

An artist’s rendering of a United Airlines Boom Supersonic Overture jet
An artist’s rendering of a United Airlines Boom Supersonic Overture jet
Boom Supersonic

Just two weeks ago, Boom Supersonic — a startup specializing in supersonic aircrafts — made headlines after CEO Blake Scholl told CNN of his plans to commercialize the space over the course of the next five years.

“Anywhere in the world in four hours for 100 bucks,” Scholl touted, while describing his ultimate vision for Boom. Critics scoffed at the prospect, and experts deemed it an “audacious goal” — a sentiment seemingly substantiated by the fact that you can’t get a flight anywhere for $100, particularly internationally, at present. Though it appears as though at least one major U.S. airline is buying into Scholl’s vision… literally.

United Airlines announced earlier this week that they intend to be on the forefront of the supersonic revolution with the purchase of 15 of Boom’s 88-seat Overture aircrafts, the first of which is tentatively set to go into production in 2023, with the option to tack on 35 more.

Of course, that’s all assuming the new jet is able to meet United’s current “safety, operating and sustainability requirements” — with a major emphasis on sustainability — as, historically, supersonic jets have been notoriously environmentally unfriendly. Though, by contrast, the Overture is set to run 100% sustainable aviation fuel, part of Scholl’s initiative to operate on net-zero carbon footprint fuel from day one.

The deal could have huge implications for both companies. It is said that, upon completion, the Overture will be capable of achieving speeds up to 1.7 times the speed of sound, or about 1,300 mph, making it more than twice as fast as United’s current fleet. And while United declined to disclose financials, Scholl said the deal is worth somewhere in the vicinity of $200 million per plane — $3 billion total.

Despite the hefty price tag, though, United hopes to offer premium and economy fares, both at reasonable cost to passengers, with commercial service loosely planned to begin in 2029.

Now here’s to hoping that sometime in the next eight years, the issue of the sonic boom — the phenomenon equated with supersonic jets and for which Boom is, presumably, named — is somehow addressed, for the sake of everyone living in close proximity to a major United hub.


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