United Airlines is working on the return of supersonic flying for passengers. More than 20 years after the Concordes disappeared into the mothballs, the US airline made a deposit for 15 supersonic aircraft.
United wants to buy the aircraft from Boom Supersonic from Denver, which is currently working on a first prototype. If the aircraft meet all safety and environmental requirements, the airline company will actually purchase them. It also has an option on 35 aircraft more. United hopes that passengers will be able to book tickets in 2029.
With a supersonic plane, the journey from London to New York can be made in 3.5 hours, roughly half a half. San Francisco Tokyo is six oclock. Because of the supersonic bang that planes make when they go faster than the sound, flying over land is not desirable.
Passenger flights at supersonic speed became possible in 1976 with the British-French Concorde. Because of the fuel consumption the tickets remained expensive, this form of travel never attracted the general public. The fall in air traffic following the 9/11 attacks and an air disaster in Paris in 2000 marked the end of the Concorde.
Take a look back on the Concorde era here:
Boom hopes to make a first test flight later this year or early next year with a prototype of his Overture. It flies at 2000 kilometers per hour (1.7 times the speed of sound) a little slower than the Concorde, but still much faster than the 1000 km/h a Boeing 747 reaches for a passenger flight.
United hopes to be able to offer the tickets for the 88 seats on board cheaper than the Concorde was at the time; roughly the price of a business class ticket. How much money the airline is paying for the aircraft has not been disclosed.
Criticism from the environmental movement that supersonic flying is even more polluting than ordinary flights because of lower fuel efficiency, the company is opposed by promising that the aircraft will fly entirely on sustainable aircraft fuel.