Image: Boom press kit
14 years after the retirement of Concorde, Boom are developing an aircraft that will fly at Mach 2.2, reaching its destination twice as fast as current commercial aircraft. This could mean flying from London to new york in just 3.5 hours. JAL announced on Tuesday that it has invested $10m in the Denver-based startup which also has backing from Sir Richard Branson. As part of this deal, JAL have secured the option to pre-order 20 of the aircraft.
Boom is in the process of constructing its XB-1 supersonic demonstrator, a one-third scale version of the passenger airliner (nicknamed the ‘baby boom’), which is expected to begin test flights by the end of 2018. The full-sized version of the plane is expected to be ready to enter into service by the mid-2020’s and will have a range of 8,334km. They will be equipped with 45-55 business class-style seats and JAL have said return flights from London to New York could cost around $5,000.
Blake Scholl, founder and CEO of Boom Supersonic, said that “We’ve been working with Japan Airlines behind the scenes for over a year now.” The former Amazon executive continued on to say that “JAL’s passionate, visionary team offers decades of practical knowledge and wisdom on everything from the passenger experience to technical operations. We’re thrilled to be working with JAL to develop a reliable, easily-maintained aircraft that will provide revolutionary speed to passengers.”
Yoshiharu Ueki, president of Japan Airlines, shared this enthusiasm, commenting that “We are very proud to be working with Boom on the advancement in the commercial aviation industry. Through this partnership, we hope to contribute to the future of supersonic travel with the intent of providing more ‘time’ to our valued passengers while emphasising flight safety.”
Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic Airways is the only other airline that has publically announced interest in buying Boom’s supersonic jets once they are on the market. Virgin holds options to buy the first ten jets produced. Boom says they have had interest from three other airlines but JAL is the first to invest appreciable dollars in the company.