The race to bring supersonic travel back to the skies is well and truly on after a third group announced a project to create the fastest passenger plane ever at affordable prices.
Following on from projects announced by Nasa and a group of British Concorde enthusiasts, a company called Boom has announced plans for a supersonic jet of the same name which already has the backing of Sir Richard Branson.
It may be 13 years since Concorde made its final flight but the world of supersonic travel retains its allure. Boom’s supersonic jet is predicted to fly at Mach 2.2 - “2.6 times faster than any other [current] airliner” according to the company’s website, and faster than Concorde’s Mach 2.0.
The goal of the project, which is headed by founder and CEO Blake Scholl, formerly of Amazon, is clear – to create an affordable, fast aeroplane for the modern world.
“We're making a supersonic aircraft affordable for business travel. Our ultimate goal is routine supersonic flight for everyone,” states Boom.
“Today, international travel means jetlag and days of lost productivity and family time. But imagine leaving New York in the morning, making afternoon meetings in London, and being home to tuck your kids into bed.
“Unlike Concorde, flying Boom is affordable - the same price as business class.
“This isn't science fiction - it's possible now with today's aerodynamics, carbon fibre composites, and the latest engine technology.”
Current estimates for the price of a ticket on Boom are $5,000 (around £3,476) for a round-trip from London to New York which should take less than three-and-a-half hours.
Scholl explained to the Guardian that affordability would be the key to Boom’s success: “Concorde was just too expensive to fly, and to fill 100 seats at $20,000 each. You have to bring the ticket price down and make the aeroplane the right size so you can fill the seats.”
In an ideal future, Scholl can see Boom operating on 500 different routes, but will initially concentrate on three - London to New York, San Francisco to Tokyo, and Los Angeles to Sydney – according to the Guardian.
Boom is currently building a prototype, which it hopes will take off on test flights later this year. However, the project has already attracted high-profile support from Sir Richard Branson. According to reports in the Guardian, Sir Richard will partner with Boom to help build the aircraft and has taken an option on buying 10 of the Boom planes for his Virgin brand.
“We can confirm that The Spaceship Company will provide engineering, design and manufacturing services, flight tests and operations and that we have an option on the first 10 airframes. It is still early days and just the start of what you’ll hear about our shared ambitions and efforts,” a Virgin Group spokeswoman told the Guardian.
Photo credit: Boom