Supersonic Jet is Making a Comeback

Many bemoaned the demise of the Concorde, which whisked passengers, at twice the speed of sound, from New York to London. The journey took a little more than three hours. Although the futuristic-looking, supersonic jets officially disappeared from the skies in 2003, they may be making a comeback.

Aviator extraordinaire Richard Branson is working with a Colorado startup called Boom to resurrect the supersonic airplanes. The Guardian reports that the new plane would fly at speeds of up to 1,451 mph, reducing the time of a transatlantic flight to 3.5 hours.

Round-trip fare from New York to London would cost approximately $5,000, a relatively reasonable price for business and leisure travelers for whom time is of the essence.

In contrast, in its heyday, seats on the Concorde cost up to $20,000 each.

Boom founder and CEO Blake Scholl believes his airline will be successful precisely because of its affordability. As he told The Guardian, “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 airplane the right size so you can fill the seats.”

Design of the Supersonic Jet

As fastcompany.com reports, the Boom will have two rows of 20 seats on either side of the cabin. That means everyone will get a window seat and be able to see the curvature of the earth since the plane will be flying at 60,000 feet, which is 20,000 feet higher than most commercial flights.

Scholl is able to cut the cost of the flight because carbon fiber technology makes the aircraft 30 percent more fuel efficient than the Concorde was.

While promising, the Boom is not yet ready for takeoff. Testing is projected for late 2017. Nevertheless, Branson’s Virgin Group has optioned the rights to buy the first 10 Booms. Eventually, the plane is expected to make regular scheduled flights from New York to London; San Francisco to Tokyo; and Los Angeles to Sydney.

For Scholl, the motivation for the invention was deeply personal. “I started this because I was sad that I never got to fly on Concorde,” he told the Guardian. His ultimate goal is to get people “anywhere in the world, in five hours, for $100.”

That’s an idea that will surely fly with meeting planners!

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