Supersonic commercial planes may be taking off again. Boom Supersonic announced 76 pre-orders for their Boom XB-1 model and disclosed that they are in talks with 20 other carriers. Making an appearance at this week’s Dubai Airshow, founder Blake Scholl will be on the hunt for potential customers and investors.
Concord stopped flying commercially in 2003 due to significantly higher ticket prices. In 1997, a round-trip from New York to London via Concorde would set a traveller back $7995, 30 times the price of the cheapest ticket. Scholl says with Boom’s plane, carriers will need to charge around $5000 per ticket to operate profitably (comparable with subsonic business class operators) and that 500 economically viable routes exist currently.
The Boom XB-1 will seat 55 and aims to remedy some of the issues Concorde confronted. The plane’s noise aims to be no louder than typical long-haul aircrafts, overcoming the ‘sonic boom’ issue Concord encountered. While Boom’s smaller model aims to mitigate air disturbance problems encountered by Concorde.
During the Dubai Airshow, Emirates placed an order for 40 Boeing 787 Dreamliners to be delivered from 2022, totalling $15.1bn. Emirates said this “will maintain a young and efficient fleet”, expected to run into the 2030s at least. They also announce new private cabins on their Boeing 777 fleets on Twitter.
Competitors may see Boom’s aircraft as a chance to differentiate themselves in the luxury flight market.
One bump in the road still exists as supersonic flight is prohibited over the US; though aviation policy is currently being reviewed and Scholl seems certain this will change.
Boom plan to test flights in 2018, but is yet to announce details regarding the aircraft’s engine. A production site is still to be found, though reports indicate production is likely to be in the Gulf.
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