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Like the Concorde, but with cheaper fares

Boom Supersonic wants to let paying passengers break the sound barrier again with a new airliner that could fly by 2023.

Boom Supersonic

If one of your great aviation regrets is never flying faster than the speed of sound on a Concorde, I have good news for you. 

No, the sleek Anglo-French airplane isn't readying for a comeback, but a Denver-based company is aiming to take paying passengers faster than they've ever gone before. And if Boom Supersonic keeps its promise, you're in for a cheaper and more comfortable flight than Concorde could ever deliver.

As detailed last week at the 2017 Paris Air Show, the Boom Passenger Airliner would accommodate 45-55 passengers (half that of the Concorde) at a maximum speed of Mach 2.2. Flying that fast, it would cut the current flight time between London and New York in half to just 3 hours, 15 minutes and a reduce a typical 14-hour flight between Los Angeles and Sydney to 6 hours, 45 minutes. Though the Concorde flew slightly slower at Mach 2.02, its usual flight time between London and New York was only 15 minutes longer.

boom-paris-air-show

Though Boom originally announced the Passenger Airliner last November, it showed a model at the 2017 Paris Air Show.

Boom Supersonic

Faster and cushier for less cash

Though the final price would be determined by an airline, Boom estimates that fares could be as low as $5,000 for a round trip, far cheaper than the standard Concorde ticket when the aircraft retired from service in 2003. Back then, British Airways charged £8,292 roundtrip, which converts to about £12,393, $15,883 or AU$20,888 in today's currency. If $5,000 still seems reasonable (and it is beyond the reach of many), consider that business class on an existing transatlantic trip can cost even more.

In an FAQ in its website, Boom says the lower altitude fares will be possible because its airplane will be cheaper to operate than the Concorde, partially thanks to a lighter carbon fiber skin. Also, because the aircraft will be smaller than the Concorde, Boom says it will be easier for airlines to fill every seat at the full ticket price. 

Inside the cabin, there will be just one seat on either side of the aisle, each with ample room, a personal video screen, a work table, overhead storage and a large window to enjoy the view from 60,000 feet. The Concorde had two narrow seats on either side aisle and the cabin windows were about the size of a paperback book.

Ready for takeoff?

In Paris, Boom said it has 76 orders from five airlines. The company didn't elaborate on specifics, but Richard Branson's Virgin Group is a backer of the project.

Ahead of the proposed 2023 launch date, Boom is building a smaller test aircraft that should start flying later this year. The XB-1 will have a similar design and will fly at Mach 2.2, but it will be a third of the passenger airliner's size.

boom-interior-3

A seat on Boom's aircraft would be much like a typical business class seat that you'd find today.

Boom Supersonic

More on Boom's airplane

  • 45-55 passengers depending on airline configuration 
  • Six crew members (two pilots and four flight attendants)
  • Two lavatories
  • Three non-afterburning medium bypass turbofan engines
  • Typical speed: Mac 2.2 (1,451 miles per hour or 2,335 km per hour)

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