American Airlines Buys Supersonic Jets That Will Halve Travel Time from London to NYC

American Airlines has ordered 20 jets from Boom Supersonic

American Airlines has ordered 20 jets from Boom Supersonic (Photo: AP)

A major airline is investing heavily in high-speed intercontinental travel.

American Airlines on Tuesday signed a deal with Boom Supersonic to purchase 20 commercial supersonic jet aircraft.

Last year Boom sold 15 jets to United Airlines. It also received a $10 million investment from Japan Airlines.

However, the Denver, Colorado-based company has not yet produced a working jet. Boom’s main plane, the Overture, only exists on the drawing board.

The Overture is a four-engine commercial aircraft that can carry between 65 and 88 passengers and is expected to fly at about 1,300 miles per hour, or 1.7 times the speed of sound.

Tickets for an Overture flight are expected to cost $4,000 to $5,000 for a 3.5-hour flight from New York to London.

A standard aircraft currently takes an average of almost seven hours to fly the same route.

American Airlines also plans to use the supersonic jets for other overseas travel, including a three-hour trip from Los Angeles to Honolulu and a five-hour trip from Miami to London, the company said.

The jets will also reportedly have a net zero carbon footprint, using only sustainable jet fuel made from plant-based materials.

“As we look to the future, supersonic travel will be an important part of our ability to deliver to our customers,” said American Airlines CFO Derek Kerr.

However, critics point out that Boom hasn’t even designed or produced a motor for the Overture yet. The company is currently in talks with Rolls Royce to supply the engines, reports said.

Others point to the high price of sustainable jet fuel, which currently sells for about $8.67 a gallon — more than double the price of jet fuel per gallon, a report finds.

Still other critics say Boom’s production schedule is too ambitious — though the planes American Airlines has ordered won’t be ready to fly passengers until 2029.

Boom is not the first company to market supersonic jets for commercial use. For decades, Air France and British Airways flew the Concorde, a supersonic jet that can fly across the Atlantic at comparable speeds.

The Concorde was first designed in the 1970s and made its first commercial journey in 1976. A total of seven jets flew on commercial routes between Paris Charles de Gaulle, London Heathrow, Washington Dulles and JFK in New York.

The Concorde was retired in 2003. Despite its speed, high consumer prices meant that the jets never caught on with the general public.

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