Japan Airlines puts millions into United States startup's supersonic plane

Ivan Schwartz
December 7, 2017

A US-based aviation company is touting its supersonic ambitions at the Dubai Airshow.

JAL is putting $10 million into Boom via a strategic investment, and is also going to help Boom with aircraft design and with aspects of the in-flight passenger experience. The Asian carrier is the second company to announce an intention to purchase Boom's supersonic jet, after billionaire Richard Branson's Virgin Atlantic.

Boom's aircraft design is meant to be able to achieve speeds of Mach 2.2 during regular cruising flight, and can traverse up to 8,334 km on a single tank with seating for up to 55 customers with Business Class-type comfort and accommodations - as well as airfares in line with current Business Class pricing, despite cutting travel times drastically.

By contrast Concorde, which was in service from 1976 to 2003 was only ever ordered by two airlines: British Airways and Air France. To save fuel, engines must be created to reach Mach 2.2 without afterburners.

A look inside at the proposed jet.

"We're thrilled to be working with JAL to develop a reliable, easily-maintained aircraft that will provide revolutionary speed to passengers", Boom's chief executive Blake Scholl said.

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Boom Technology had commitments for 75 planes and customers have paid significant deposits, Scholl said at the Paris Air Show in June. A flight from Tokyo to Hong Kong could be cut from roughly five hours to around two hours, offering airlines a supersonic shuttle between two of the world's biggest financial centers.

Engine selection, which is crucial for giving customers real cost and performance data, remains an outstanding issue.

The aircraft is expected to be in the use by mid 2020s and will have a range of 8,334 kilometers.

The iconic plane flew regularly between Europe and NY for 27 years but was withdrawn from service because of high costs.

A demonstrator aircraft, dubbed Baby Boom or XB-1, was due to fly for the first time in late 2018. In addition, it is designing the aircraft to keep costs down so airlines can charge fares comparable to business class. Round-trip fares on the Concorde between NY and London generally were more than $10,000, according to the BBC, while Boom lists its projected costs as $2,500 per leg for the same journey.

Other reports by GizPress

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