Will Boeing Or Airbus Ever Make A New Supersonic Passenger Plane?

The Concorde was such a game-changer that Boeing believed that they would be out of the passenger business within a decade (unless their own supersonic jet took flight). However, today both Airbus and Boeing seem to be content with building slower and more fuel-efficient aircraft. Will Boeing or Airbus every make a new supersonic aircraft again? The answer is better than you think!

Boom Overture
The future for Supersonic travel is bright. Photo: Boom Supersonic

Boeing tried to build one before.

Despite choosing to go the slower but steady route with their aircraft designs, Boeing never really gave up on the idea of London to New York in a handful of hours.

A Delta supersonic passenger jet based on the NAC-60. Photo: Delta via Wikimedia

Boeing originally set out to make their own supersonic aircraft to rival the Concorde back in the 1960s and 1970s, called the Boeing 2707. For more details, we recommend you read this article here, which is much more detailed and covers the whole competition between Boeing and Lockheed.

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However, this project never went ahead beyond initial mockups, as the rise of fuel prices in 1973 and the legislation introduced to curb sonic booms shut down the program.

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What about modern projects?

Boeing has not given up on the idea of supersonic travel completely, however, and they are planning to return back to supersonic travel with a modern design.

Only last year Boeing invested in a concept called the Aerion AS2. This supersonic business jet can fly 1,000 miles an hour at Mach 1.4, and will be flying for the first time in 2023. The company had previously been partnered with both Lockheed and Airbus.

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“Through this partnership that combines Aerion’s supersonic expertise with Boeing’s global industrial scale and commercial aviation experience, we have the right team to build the future of sustainable supersonic flight,” Steve Nordlund, vice president, and general manager of Boeing NeXt said in a statement to CNBC.

Whilst this is not a commercial passenger aircraft, and more along the lines of a private business jet, it is a good start for the airframe builder. Following the success of this project, there is potential that they will design a bigger version for commercial service.

What about other projects?

There are two other major projects in the works that are worth mentioning

Supersonic Flight, British Airways, Concorde
A renewed interest in supersonic flight has been sparked recently. Photo: Boom Supersonic

The first is Boom Supersonic. They have partnered with Virgin Atlantic and Japan Airlines to develop a small commercial aircraft capable of transporting passengers across oceanic routes (such as the Pacific or Atlantic). These planes would go Mach 2.2 and fly around 1,450 miles per hour. The aircraft will be able to seat 55 passengers in quiet comfort.

Lockheed Martin is also working on a supersonic aircraft, but with a bit of a twist. This aircraft will be able to fly fast but quiet. Part of the problem of supersonic travel is that it is banned over land due to the sonic boom (and politics), and Lockheed Martin wants to get around this by building a special aircraft that flies just under 1,000 miles an hour but is only as loud as a car door slamming.

What do you think? Will you buy a ticket to fly on a new Concorde? Let us know in the comments.

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John Nucifora

Absolutely, But let’s hope with today’s technology, they still do not keep the prices of a ticket for the super elite, like it used to be, and in an affordable price range.

JFP

Convair -I mean Boeing- will be lucky if they’re still in business next week, thanks to the U.S. Government. Why Boeing stayed in the U.S. after the government betrayed it with the withdrawal of support for the 2707 is the height of corporate masochism.

ovtraveller

For Australian business and recreation flyers the question is a no brainer. Currently faced with a minimum 14 hours flight, plus connections unless you fly the Qantas shuttle between Perth and LHR ( fantastic- highly recommend it), why wouldn’t a shorter flight time appeal? It seems that American politics ( and commercial envy) stopped the Concorde, whilst no American complains when their own jet fighters break the barrier. I would hope that renewed interest in supersonic passenger flight , with appropriate technology, will become reality in the near future.

Here2go

Cost to fly and impact on the environment? The Concorde was a gas guzzler linked to national prestige not economics. This is why there was no successor to the Concorde, and I dare say we will never see one unless chemistry and physics are vastly different

JFP

The U.S. Congress repeatedly tries to rewrite the laws of physics. Don’t underestimate them…

Dick Govender

Sounds a great idea

John

Supersonic planes are fuel inefficient and will never see use again in civilian operations aside from a novelty project or startups that will never bring a type certificated plane to market.

Commercial flying has slowed down. The newest jets fly slower than the 747.

JFP

U.S. airlines consistently fly 100 kts slower than their European counterparts.

Paul Proctor

Can I get a citation on that statement about US airlines flying slower?

Transworld

Concord use 4-6 times the fuel for all of 90 some passengers.

So far its all talk and no action and that is where its going to stay.

ELLIOTT HASKINS

I have faith and believe that we can when we put our minds to it that we can build better planes just like in the late 60s the Boeing 2707 we’re ahead of his time and it was bigger and faster than the current like Concord was and I believe that they should bring back dead play me back or make something better American know how we can do it we can get things even more faster than what they talking about it all depends on our government and corporations that who are in control ride along with the gas… Read more »

Paul Proctor

Can I get a citation on your first statement that Boeing believed it would be out of the passenger business. It’s not that I don’t believe you, it’s just that I’ve never seen it.

Paul Proctor

Supersonic is hard. I am all for advancing aerospace but can’t see it happening for non-military pax-carrying jets due to high development, certification, pilot training and operating costs. Noise and the environment remain a problem, as repetitious car-door soft thumping sounds will worry those living under popular routes to/from major cities, and likely high per-pax fuel use. But I think the main challenge will be the perception (and ticket prices) that it is a transportation system for the super elite. This will make it a target for environmentalists, high taxes, and politicians.