Boom founder and CEO Blake Scholl has said each Overture will sell for $200 million, although it’s not uncommon for airlines to pay below list price when buying multiple planes. Last year, United Airlines ordered 15 Overtures with an option to buy 35 more.
The Concorde, which had a maximum speed of just over Mach 2, It last made a commercial flight in 2003. Operated primarily by British Airways and Air France, it had the capacity to fly from London to New York in approximately three hours. The aircraft symbolized luxury, offered access to a super-exclusive lounge and offered high-quality wine with Angus beef and lobster during flights. Britain’s Princess Margaret and former United States Secretary of State Henry Kissinger were among the most famous passengers.
But it had to go out of business after years of unsustainable fuel costs, coupled with repeated complaints from people living near airports about the noise generated by supersonic jets.
The July 2000 crash of an Air France Concorde flight departing from Paris to New York killed 113 people and tarnished the image of supersonic aircraft as a safe travel option.
The Concorde may not change the way we fly, but it still can
There are lingering questions about whether it is possible to build ultra-fast, safe, relatively quiet and environmentally friendly aircraft.
“I don’t think you can ignore the obstacles that will be in the way of getting there,” aviation journalist Jon Ostrower told CBS News last month. He suggested Boom should invest at least $15 billion to develop a supersonic jet. At the time, Boom said in response it could build the Overture at about half the price tag Ostrower had indicated.
The manufacturer worked with British industrial conglomerate Rolls-Royce – which co-developed the engines for the Concorde – on an engine design for the Overture that Boom is now evaluating, said Scanlan, the spokeswoman. Boom says the Overtures will be lighter and more fuel efficient than the Concorde, while better software will make the new jets more aerodynamic.
Keeping noise down can remain a challenge because supersonic aircraft require narrow aerodynamic engines, which can be relatively loud. The Concorde was largely limited to flying over water because of its noise, which limited the number of routes it could offer.
Another barrier may be the cost of sustainable jet fuel, which is extracted from organic matter. Scholl has promised that the Overture will only fly on greener fuel, which is two to five times more expensive than fossil fuel. Supersonic jets can also burn seven to nine times more fuel than subsonic planes, The Washington Post reports.
Pranshu Verma contributed to this report
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