Concorde Vs Boom Overture – Which Supersonic Aircraft Is Better?

At the most recent air show in Paris, Boom Supersonic discussed how they would be bringing back faster than the speed of sound flight. They aim to revamp supersonic travel with their mach 2.2 aircraft, the Boom Overture.

Boom Aerospace
The new Boom Overture. Photo: Boom Supersonic

The Boom Overture has been dubbed Concorde 2.0. With the later being retired back in 2003 it seems that the field is open for the new prodigal son to take center stage. But, will the Boom Overture be a match for the famous Concorde? Or will it always be in its shadow?

What is the Boom Overture?

The Boom Overture is a new aircraft concept under development to bring back supersonic travel to the regular aircraft flyer. Unlike other projects to develop a new supersonic aircraft, only Boom Aerospace is focusing on large passenger numbers and not private jets.

“If we can fly twice as fast, the world becomes twice as small, turning far off lands into familiar neighbours.” – Boom Supersonic’s Mission Statement

Currently, they have raised $141m (£107m) in two rounds of funding and are well on their way to build what they have dubbed the ‘Baby Boom’, a miniature prototype. They aim to fly it this year.

Photo: Boom Supersonic

The Boom Overture is the next step once they have proven their flight model, building a premium 55-seat airliner, longer and thinner than Concorde, to be sold directly to airline carriers. The aircraft will retail for $200m, and could be ready for market as soon as 2025, as reported by Esquire Magazine.

The 55-seat number was chosen as this is around the average configuration size of a typical business class cabin.

“You’ll be able to fly Overture for a quarter the price of a Concorde ticket, or about the same price you’d pay in business class today. That’s the most important thing,” – Blake Scholl, CEO of Boom Supersonic

How does it compare to the Concorde?

The Concorde, originally built back in the 70s, could carry 100 passengers at Mach 2 (1,535 mph / 2,470 km/h) to a range of 3,900 nmi (4,488.04 mi / 7,223 km).

The new Boom Overture is aiming to have 55 seats, fly at Mach 2.2 (1,674.6 mph / 2,695 km/h) and fly to a range of 4,500 nmi (5,179 mi / 8,334 km).

Concorde Supersonic Boom FAA
Concordes supersonic boom was not the most popular. Photo: British Airways

Looking at the numbers above, we can see that the Concorde could carry almost double the passengers of the planned Boom Overture. That being said, the Concorde was only around 80% full on average. 

Comparing range and speed, the new Bom Overture is putting 40 years of research and development to good use, by extending the speed and the range of the aircraft. Additionally, the Boom Overture will burn less fuel (no afterburners on takeoff) and will be 30 times quieter.

Will Boom be successful where the Concorde wasn’t?

For one, Boom has taken the time to understand the flaws of the Concorde and how they can avoid the problems associated with it.

The Concorde was banned from flying supersonic over the continental USA, and was only allowed to fly at normal jet speeds. Due to this, it became way too expensive to operate. Boom will only focus on routes across oceans, such as the New York to London route that was profitable for Concorde.

So far, Virgin Atlantic and Japanese Airlines have given Boom Aerospace memorandum of understandings to purchase 30 aircraft at a total of $6bn (£4.57bn). They had to commit $1 million USD each for this first right of refusal.

What do you think? Which aircraft is your favorite? Let us know in the comments.

  1. Off course Boom is favorite.

    The usage of modern building techniques, materials, power plants and so on, opens the sky for a much more efficient aircraft.

    But do they manage to stay within their outlined financial limits?
    Selling double the speed seats at a standard B-Class prices will vanish B-Class on regular aircraft on the same routes. That determines the success of the project.

    The constraint of oceanic routes, seems to be a minor set back for the project, fortunately there is a lot of water on this globe.

  2. Off course Boom is favorite.

    The usage of the latest techniques, materials, power plants and so on, opens the sky for a much more efficient aircraft boosting performance.

    But do they manage to stay within their outlined financial limits: Selling double the speed seats at a standard B-Class prices. That will vanish B-Class on regular aircraft on the same routes. It’s key factor for the projects succes.

    The constraint of oceanic routes only seems to be a minor set back, fortunately there is a lot of water on this globe. New routes occur rapidly.

  3. I flew on Concorde 34 times of which three were with AF and the rest with BA.

    None of the flights I took were at full fare at UK prices, most were at the equivalent of business class prices. In fact, I once flew free of charge by agreeing to carry the manifest for a courier company whose employees were required to bring their passports every day to the office in case there was no one else available to carry the manifest, twice per day- on Concorde!

    For businessmen and women Concorde made a lot of sense because it was possibly to fly from London to New York and do a full day’s work on arrival. In addition, it was amazing how many lucrative business opportunities arose for those meeting each other on board.

    I wish every success to the new generations of supersonic aircraft!

  4. It is now 50 years since the first flight of Concorde and there appears to have been very little improvement. Concorde was also designed to cruise at M2.2 and this was reduced to 2.05 to ensure long structural life by limiting the maximum metal temperature to 127C (400K) There is no experience of operating composite structures at anywhere near these temperatures. It should be noted that afterburning was used for less than two minutes on takeoff but significantly reduced time and fuel consumption in the high drag transonic speed range while climbing from 28,000 ft to 44,000 ft and M1.73. While it is true that modern turbofans have greatly reduced noise, this is due to very high values of bypass ratio, typically about 12. Supersonic aircraft, however, need low frontal area to keep drag down and it is likely that bypass ratio will be less than 1 and it will be very difficult to keep noise down.Propulsion system will require both a highly complex fully variable air intake control system and a fully variable convergent- divergent nozzle system, as used on Concorde. This will make engine development costly and spread over a small number of engines. The B1 bomber was originally designed fo a speed of M2 , but was cancelled because of high cost ; it was later brought back with major changes , including a fixed air intake resulting in a max speed of about M1.4 ( classified info, hopefully a good approx ) Finally, can’t see the use of a range of only 4500 nm for Japan Airlines.

    1. I’m guessing Japan Airlines are thinking to connect faster with the US, the plane can at least reach the west coast. They say that on routes of longer than 4500nmi, there will be a ‘brief tech stop’ which will be factored into flight times and won’t require passengers to deplane. I can imagine it’s going to be expensive to develop, as you say… we’ll have to wait and see if it comes to be.

  5. I wish them all the luck, but I don’t see it happening. They will not have the funding necessary. They have raised less than the MSRP of one plane. How can you do all the engineering on a shoestring budget?

  6. 1st off, I’ll believe it when I see it. Why? Just do a little research on how many replacements prior to this one. Nothing could replace Concorde, nothing. No airliner is/was better. But only 1 with a better safety record. It does look nice, I’ll give it that & I wish them luck. Maybe I’ll be able to eat my words in the future.

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