Boom aims to open supersonic travel to millions
With a flight time of four and a half hours from Seattle to Tokyo, Boom Supersonic intends supersonic travel to be accessible to anyone who currently travels business class, when the first passenger flights on its Overture aircraft take off in 2029.
This is according to Boom CEO Blake Scholl, speaking at the Farnborough Air Show, who said, “With more than 600 routes across the globe, Overture will make the world dramatically more accessible for tens of millions of passengers.” With 65-80 seats, Scholl noted that capacity on the first iteration of Overture is the same as premium cabins on many wide body aircraft today.
By the time the third version of Overture sees the light of day, Scholl stated that he even hopes prices are low enough to relegate subsonic aircraft to cargo.
Scholl made the comment in response to a question about why Concorde failed, calling it the “epitome of unsustainable aircraft”, where the high price meant it was flying half empty even on major routes (such as LHR – JFK).
SAF partner uses unproven technology
Sustainability was a key theme of the Boom press conference, with Scholl reiterating the airline’s commitment to flying aircraft with 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). As well as price, Scholl said that he wanted to remove sustainability as a reason for people not to fly Boom.
Boom’s SAF partner is Prometheus Fuels, which aims to create SAF from Carbon Dioxide. A piece in MIT Technology Review in April said that though the technology was revolutionary, experts remain sceptical that Prometheus really will be able to produce SAF at the company’s target price.
This comes as Prometheus has missed its own 2020 target for delivering its fuel at $3 a gallon, and instead has still to create an integrated device that generates fuel to power conventional vehicles. As a result, it remains to be seen if Prometheus will remain Boom’s SAF partner if the aircraft manufacturer wants to remain true to its goal of flying carbon neutral.
Meanwhile, a partnership with Eaton, will see Eaton design the actual fuel systems that will allow Boom aircraft to fly on 100% SAF.
The rest of the announcement concerned a redesign of the company’s Overture aircraft, which Scholl called, “the world’s next iconic airliner design.” As well as flying carbon neutral, Scholl emphasised the noise reduction that the new design provides – an important point as you can imagine noise campaigners in urban areas near airports campaigning against Boom’s arrival.
Scholl also unveiled a partnership with Northrop Grunman, which will see Boom’s aircraft utilised for military and Governmental missions, such as rapid troop deployment.
Though the Northrop Grunman partnership does not involve any funding, Scholl stated that Boom currently has enough funds to see it through its development and production cycles.