Supersonic flights will be possible again following a pioneering deal between United Airlines and aerospace start-up Boom Supersonic.
United has said it will buy as many as 50 of Boom’s Overture ultra-fast jets, brining back supersonic passenger flights for the first time since Concorde retired in 2003.
The jets fly at 1.7 times the speed of sound and can fly at 1,100mph at an altitude of 60,000ft, making them able to cross the Atlantic in just three and a half hours.
While still in development, once completed the jets will carry between 65 and 88 passengers, fewer than the 100 seats available on the Concorde flights, and initially priced at business class fares.
United will begin by buying 15 of the planes after they meet safety, operating and sustainability requirements.
Boom is expected to build its first aircraft in 2025, with initial flights to be made the following year, while the Overture will enter commercial service in 2029.
Scott Kirby, chief executive of United said: “Boom’s vision for the future of commercial aviation, combined with the industry's most robust route network in the world, will give business and leisure travellers access to a stellar flight experience.
"Our mission has always been about connecting people and now working with Boom, we'll be able to do that on an even greater scale.”
He added that the carrier is considering a supersonic network covering 500 cities worldwide – including London.
To combat the negative environmental effects supersonics have such as requiring more fuel per passenger, United have said that the aircraft would be powered by sustainable aviation fuel made from cooking oil or household waste which is classified as net carbon zero.
Blake Scholl, the chief executive of Boom Supersonic, said: “The world’s first purchase agreement for net-zero carbon supersonic aircraft marks a significant step toward our mission to create a more accessible world.”
Despite this there are still other environmental considerations, including the fact that flying faster than sound generates a sonic boom that can be heard on the ground.
Complaints about this noise pollution forced Concorde to focus on routes that were largely over open oceans.
The Civil Aviation Authority in the UK and the US Federal Aviation Administration must grant approval for the return of supersonic passenger planes to the skies.
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