When Will Supersonic Jets Become Mainstream Again?

What happened to supersonic travel?

We were supposed to be zipping between London and Sydney in 2 hours, flying in giant concords that made having a bagel for breakfast in New York and Dumplings in Hong Kong a reality.

Instead, we sit in a plane (sometimes in quite luxurious seats) for hours and hours (Singapore to New York is pushing 20 hours) letting the world slip by.

Turkish Airlines Business Class
Turkish Airline’s supposed new business class.

However, the age of super fast air travel may come again sooner than you think.

What was the problem with supersonic travel?

When you hear the fact that we had the Concorde for 30 years, you have to wonder why it was discontinued.

The fabled Concorde retired as of 2003.

There were two major reasons:

  • Noise – When a plane breaks the sound barrier it creates what is known as a sonic boom. This effect at ground level can smash windows, distress animals and be highly annoying to residences. Naturally, any new supersonic technology will need to be as quiet as possible.
  • Cost of fuel – Any new jets will need to be as fuel efficient as possible.

So what companies are actually working on these problems?

The future of supersonic travel

A company called Boom Technology has moved their supersonic plane concept from paper to something far more real.

The Boom Supersonic will fly at a speed of Mach 2.2 which is 1,300 kn or 2,300 km/h. To put things into perspective, a normal jet such as a Boeing 737 has a speed of approximately 938 km/h.

Backed by Virgin Atlantic and Japan Airways, the new Boom Technology concept plane will start trials in 2020. This concept aircraft, dubbed the ‘Baby Boom’ will just be used for flight tests.

Mini Boom next to the bigger commercial Boom Technologies aircraft

The eventual larger production model will have business class seating for 55 passengers and will fly routes from London to New York (2-3 hours) and Toyko (4-5 hours).

Boom Supersonic Jet Interior fit up
Boom Supersonic Jet Interior fit up

These routes will have an exceptionally high demand for business passengers who time is far more important than money. After all, right before its closure, the Concord was actually running at a profit.

Concord
Singapore operated a concord with British Airways. One side was painted in BA livery, the other side was Singapore.

And once the model is proven, you bet Airbus and Boeing will be diving into the market to build their own ‘faster-than-a-speeding-bullet’ versions. Perhaps not for commercial aviation, but certainly for their very demanding business customers. They are the reason that Boeing is building a private 777X that can fly almost anywhere in the world.

Boom Supersonic Jet
Boom Supersonic Jet

We are Simple Flying can’t wait for the next golden age, and hope you join us in watching it dawn.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments.

 

3 comments
  1. While the return of supersonic transportation was never in doubt, the technology already in place, is the performance bar being set too low; in my mind it is very much so.

  2. The time and cost to certify a new aircraft is very high. This being the first supersonic aircraft to Certify since the Concorde is going to be especially expensive and time consuming, I doubt Boom has deep enough pockets to make this happen. I wish them the best but don’t believe it will ever make it to market.

  3. Instead of this company and Boeing dumping billions of dollars in another Concorde-disaster-to-be, why don’t they choose to be smarter by investing in figuring out how to give existing planes more seat legroom? SMH

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