- Supersonic commercial flights may return soon.
- Boom Supersonic says that it has received 76 pre-orders for its Boom XB-1.
- Questions remain about the prohibitive pricing and regulations that have made supersonic flight difficult.
Since the Concorde flew for the final time in 2003, there have been hints that supersonic air travel could return to the commercial airline industry.
The aircraft would hold 55 passengers and be much quieter than previous supersonic aircraft.
Boom Supersonic also claims to be talking with 20 other airline carriers.
The company hopes to test a smaller version of the Boom XB-1 by the end of 2018 and have the full-sized aircraft in operation by 2025.
Reaching speeds of over 2,700km/h, the Boom XB-1 would be able to travel from London to New York in about three hours and 15 minutes.
Still, a few questions remain. Supersonic air travel is illegal over the United States, which would restrict the aircraft to international flights. And prohibitive pricing has long made supersonic travel unaffordable for most consumers, as tickets tend to cost thousands of dollars.
There are no indications thus far that the Boom XB-1 will solve this problem.
The first commercial supersonic aircraft, the Concorde, took flight in 1969. It was able to cut international flight times in half, but was subject to controversy due to the “sonic boom” it produced which bothered people who found themselves beneath its flight path.
In July 2000, an Air France Concorde crashed shortly after taking off and killed 113 people. The accident decreased the demand for supersonic flights until the Concorde was retired in 2003.
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