In what could be a sonic-boon for United Airlines, the passenger airline has just committed to purchasing 15 supersonic jets. United is purchasing the jets from the Denver-based company, Boom Supersonic, which is behind the XB-1 supersonic jet prototype unveiled in October of last year. If Boom delivers, United says it’ll be able to fly—enormously wealthy—people from San Francisco to Japan in just six hours. New York to London? three-and-a-half hours.
The Washington Post reported on United’s recent jumbo purchase. Analysts are valuing the deal with Boom at a whopping $3 billion, as the jets will cost $200 million apiece. For reference, a Boeing 747 costs, on average, $387 million to build. (And no, we have no idea how Boom will be able to build a completely new type of aircraft for half the money of building a current one either.)
The airline and jet manufacturer hope to begin flying Boom’s “Overature” supersonic jet in 2029. Overature, unlike the XB-1 (in the video at bottom), will be a passenger aircraft that can carry up to 88 people. The super-sleek bird (in the image and video immediately above and below), will still have shockingly impressive stats, however. Boom says the Overature, for example, will be able to hit Mach 1.7—or more than 1,300 mph. The supersonic jet will also fly at an altitude of approximately 60,000 feet above Earth’s surface.
On top of its speed, which could see passengers fly from Newark to Frankfurt in four hours, or New York to London in just three-and-a-half, Boom also says its jets will be carbon neutral. It’ll be able to pull off this feat, it says, thanks to its use of a sustainable aviation fuel, or SAF. SAFs consist of fuels that originate with things like cooking oils and other non-palm waste oils from animals or plants.
Unfortunately, no estimates regarding ticket costs are available. However, we’re guessing tens of thousands of dollars for round-trip tickets. We know a round-tripper aboard the Concorde was approximately $12,000, and that was eighteen years ago. On top of that, all of Overature’s seats look hyper-first-class. And we know that’s the signal for “sit in me or buy a decent car, your choice.”
Feature image: Boom Supersonic