United placed a $3 billion order for 15 supersonic jets. Meet Boom Supersonic’s Overture

Boom Supersonic United Airlines
A rendering of a Boom Overture aircraft in United Airlines colors.

  • United Airlines entered the supersonic realm on Thursday with an order for 15 Concorde-like jets from Boom Supersonic.
  • Overture is estimated to fly up to 88 passengers in an all-business class cabin at a top speed of Mach 1.7.
  • New York to London could be flown in under four hours while San Francisco to Tokyo could be flown in six.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Boom Supersonic is a Colorado-based startup that’s leading the development of supersonic aircraft to usher in a new era of commercial air travel.

Boom Supersonic

Its newest partner is United Airlines, which is on track to become the first US airline to fly supersonic jet aircraft thanks to an order for 15 of Boom’s flagship aircraft, Overture.

Boom Supersonic United Airlines
A rendering of a Boom Overture aircraft in United Airlines colors.

Read More: United Airlines is buying 15 supersonic jets that could fly Newark to London in less than 4 hours

Boom hopes to get travelers flying greater than the speed of sound by 2030, less than 30 years since the iconic Concorde’s retirement from the skies in 2003.

Concorde

Read More: Boom Supersonic just sold 15 faster-than-sound jets to United. Its CEO explains how fuel efficiency and better economics will help him succeed where the Concorde failed.

Overture is a Concorde-like plane that plans to fly at Mach 1.7, greater than the speed of sound.

Boom Supersonic

Up to 88 passengers will fly in Overture in a 1-1 all-business class configuration.

Boom Supersonic

Overture aims to also fly above traditional aircraft at a cruising altitude of 60,000 feet. No current commercial aircraft can currently access that height.

Boom Supersonic

The New York-London route is a prime candidate for the aircraft with United touting a three-hour and 30-minute journey time from its hub at Newark Liberty International Airport to the UK capital. Newark-Los Angeles would be slightly shorter if overland flights are permitted.

Boom Supersonic United Airlines
A rendering of a Boom Overture aircraft in United Airlines colors.

Other potential routes include Newark-Frankfurt, Germany at just four hours…

Boom Supersonic United Airlines
A rendering of a Boom Overture aircraft in United Airlines colors.

And San Francisco-Tokyo, Japan at six hours. Overture’s range, however, would have to be extended to make this route work without stopping for fuel.

Boom Supersonic United Airlines
A rendering of a Boom Overture aircraft in United Airlines colors.

Overture, in its service for United, will be net-zero carbon and be powered by sustainable aviation fuel.

Boom Supersonic United Airlines
A rendering of a Boom Overture aircraft in United Airlines colors.

United’s sustainability efforts include a plan to become “100% green by 2050 by reducing our greenhouse gas emissions 100%.”

United Airlines Eco-Skies Boeing 737
United Airlines’ “Eco-Skies” Boeing 737.

But making Overture mainstream would require an expansion of a sustainable aviation fuel infrastructure as the biofuels are currently limited to certain airports.

Sustainable aviation fuel
Sustainable aviation fuel powering an Air France aircraft.

A total of 15 aircraft to be purchased were outlined in the agreement with options for 35 more if United desires. A single model costs $200 million, making the deal worth $3 billion.

Boom Supersonic United Airlines
A rendering of a Boom Overture aircraft in United Airlines colors.

Source: Washington Post

The deal is not yet set in stone. Boom will have to meet “United’s demanding safety, operating and sustainability requirements.”

Boom Supersonic

Overture is expected to debut in 2025 with its first flight planned for 2026.

Boom Supersonic

The first passengers are expected to fly on Overture in 2029, truly marking the beginning of a new era for supersonic travel.

Boom Supersonic

The development of the Overture is currently in the prototype phase. Boom rolled out the XB-1 in October with plans to fly the aircraft from a base in Mojave, California later in 2021.

Boom Supersonic XB-1

Read More: The startup that wants to bring back ultra-fast supersonic travel just unveiled the prototype for its Overture passenger plane – take a look at the XB-1

United isn’t the only airline interested in Overture, however. Japan Airlines and Virgin Atlantic Airways are both investors in Boom with pre-orders for the aircraft.

Boom Supersonic

Boom’s aircraft may also fly the American president as the US Air Force is interested in using Overture as a future “Air Force One.”

Boom Supersonic

Read More: The Boom Overture jet is vying to become the first supersonic Air Force One — here’s an early look

United has been at the forefront of investing in new aircraft technologies, even if they are years away from being realized.

United Airlines

In February, United entered the urban air mobility realm with a $1 billion order for electric vertical takeoff and land from Archer.

Archer Aviation electric aircraft VTOL

Read More: United just ordered $1 billion worth of eVTOLs from a startup that aims to launch intra-city passenger flights in 2024

United’s regional airline partner Mesa Airlines will operate the aircraft intended to shuttle passengers to and from major airports in congested cities, like Los Angeles.

Archer Aviation electric aircraft VTOL

“Our mission has always been about connecting people and now working with Boom, we’ll be able to do that on an even greater scale,” Scott Kirby, United’s chief executive officer, said in a statement.

Boom Supersonic United Airlines
A rendering of a Boom Overture aircraft in United Airlines colors.

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