What Airlines Ordered The Boeing 2707? America’s Answer To Concorde

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The United States did not sit idle as the Concorde took over the world back in the last century. They got to work and designed their aircraft, the Boeing 2707. But did this have a market appeal like the Concorde? Let’s explore.

United Concorde SST Boeing 2707
A Boeing 2707 in United livery. Photo: Simple Flying / Bill Abbott via Flicker

What was the Boeing 2707?

The Boeing 2707 was the United States’ answer to the Concorde. There was a prolonged contest between five plane manufacturers to win the supersonic transport (SST) funding, with Boeing beating out Lockheed for the final design.

The Boeing 2707 had the following specifications.

  • It could carry 292 passengers in two classes (28 in first with 40 inches of legroom and 264 in economy 34 inches of legroom).
  • It would have a range of around 6,400 km or 3,500 nautical miles.
  • Four General Electric GE4/J5P turbojets would have powered it. Each would have provided 63,200 lb/f (281 kN) of thrust to a top speed of Mach 2.7.

Who ordered the Boeing 2707?

According to the early delivery schedule of the Boeing 2707, they had the following optioned orders:

Airline Orders
Aer Lingus 2
Air Canada 6
Air France 6
Air India 2
Airlift International 1
Alitalia 6
American 6
BOAC 6
Braniff 2
Canadian Pacific 3
Continental 3
Delta 3
Eastern 6
El Al 2
Iberia 3
JAL 5
KLM 6
Lufthansa 3
Northwest 6
Pakistan International 2
Pan American 15
Qantas 6
Trans-Am. 1
TWA 12
United 6
World Airways 3
Total 122

While some of these orders may have been a flight of fantasy (pun intended), there is concrete evidence to support others.

For example, Qantas made an order for six of these SST’s and planned to use them to fly to London from Sydney. It would have been able to make the journey in 10 and a half hours with several refueling stops, such as Singapore, Dubai, and British Malta.

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“1964 Qantas paid a $600,000 ($16 million in today’s money) deposit on six Boeing-manufactured supersonic SST aircraft.” – Qantas Roo Tales

The translated tweet above: In 1966, Iberia placed the order for three SST #Boeing 2707 aircraft, machines capable of reaching 2.7 Mach. The project was canceled, and Boeing offered the 747s to companies that had advanced money. That is why Iberia was one of the first to operate the jumbo jet (Boeing 747).

What happened to the project

By our estimates, each Boeing 2707 would cost an airline around $50 million in list prices in 1970 ($435.47 million today) compared to the Concorde, which was was the equivalent of an Airbus A380 today ($444 million per aircraft). This number is a rough guestimate, as, at the time, the project was still under development, and Boeing hadn’t figured out how much it would cost.

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A model of the Boeing 2707 in United livery. Photo: Bill Abbott via Flicker

Boeing predicted that they would pay back all the costs for the program by the 300th aircraft and that the market could sustain 500 jets. Alas, there were only 122 options, which amounted to $24.1 million deposited in its bank account. Had there been another 122 orders (nearly to 300), likely, the project went ahead.

You can read more about why Boeing canceled the project here, and the other aircraft in the battle against the Concorde here.

What do you think? Would you have flown onboard the Boeing 2707? Let us know in the comments.

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