Chicago-based United Airlines has announced a commercial agreement with Denver-based aerospace company Boom Supersonic to add aircraft to its global fleet as well as a cooperative sustainability initiative.
Boom Supersonic's aircraft will cut travel times in half and operate on up to 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).
Under the terms of the agreement, United will purchase 15 of Boom's 'Overture' airliners, once Overture meets United's demanding safety, operating and sustainability requirements, with an option for an additional 35 aircraft. The companies will work together on meeting those requirements before delivery.
Once operational, Overture is expected to be the first large commercial aircraft to be net-zero carbon from day one, optimized to run on 100% SAF. It is slated to roll out in 2025, fly in 2026 and expected to carry passengers by 2029. United and Boom will also work together to accelerate production of greater supplies of SAF.
"United continues on its trajectory to build a more innovative, sustainable airline and today's advancements in technology are making it more viable for that to include supersonic planes. Boom's vision for the future of commercial aviation, combined with the industry's most robust route network in the world, will give business and leisure travellers access to a stellar flight experience," said Scott Kirby, CEO, United. "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."
Capable of flying at speeds of Mach 1.7 – twice the speed of today's fastest airliners – Overture can connect more than 500 destinations in nearly half the time. Among the many future potential routes for United are Newark to London in just three and a half hours, Newark to Frankfurt in four hours and San Francisco to Tokyo in just six hours.
Readers may recall that although Concorde first flew in 1969 the maiden commercial flight was not until 1976 and whilst the order book once stood at around 100 aircraft only 14 went into (heavily subsidised) airline service.