DALLAS (AP) – American Airlines has agreed to buy up to 20 supersonic jets and put down a non-refundable deposit on the planes that are still on the drawing board and years away from flying.
Neither American nor the manufacturer Boom Supersonic would provide financial details yesterday, including the size of American’s deposit. American becomes the second US customer for Boom after a similar announcement last year from United Airlines for 15 of the planes, called the Overture.
It has been nearly 20 years since the last supersonic passenger flight by Concorde, the British-French plane that failed to catch on because of the high cost of flights.
Boom CEO Blake Scholl insists his company’s plane will be different when it debuts in 2029, with tickets costing about USD4,000 to USD5,000 to fly from New York to London in about three and one-half hours.
“There are tens of millions of passengers every year flying in business class on routes where Overture will give a big speed-up,” Scholl said in an interview, “and airlines will be able to do it profitably.”
Sceptics have questioned Boom’s ambitious timetable, especially in light of the many years it has taken Boeing, an established manufacturer, to get planes or even retrofits to planes approved by the Federal Aviation Administration.
Boom said the Overture programme will cost between USD6 billion and USD8 billion. The plane carries a list price of USD200 million, although other manufacturers routinely give airlines deep discounts.