The Race is on for the First Supersonic Passenger Jets
Aerospace technology enthusiasts waiting for supersonic passenger jets may have their wish fulfilled in the relatively near future. Although the Concorde will not be making a reappearance, the concept of supersonic international travel is once again being worked on by a few companies in the industry.
One notable group is the startup Boom, which has already advanced past the ultra-important wind tunnel testing phase. If engineers can figure out how to soften the noise level of a supersonic takeoff, travelers are likely to have this speedy option within the next decade. There are a few other hurdles any aerospace team will have to clear before they can start filling orders, but all signs indicate that international travel will be expanding with at least one new fleet.
Are Airlines Interested in Supersonic Passenger Jets?
The Concorde was retired for a reason; high ticket prices and declining demand made supersonic transcontinental flight increasingly unprofitable. However, that was 14 years ago, and international travel is extremely popular again.
There is currently a regulation in place that prohibits supersonic passenger jets from traveling across U.S. land, so Boom is planning to use transoceanic routes. Industry experts have determined that several airlines would be interested even with this restriction. As a result, companies such as Boom and Aerion may soon find themselves competing to build the estimated 1,300 planes that would be ordered industry wide.
Will Supersonic Speed be Worth the Price?
Make no mistake; supersonic travel is going to be expensive. In fact, experts predict it will primarily be utilized by business travelers. However, if Boom or Aerion can produce planes that travel from Heathrow to JFK in less than four hours, there are probably going to be enough people interested to help everyone turn a profit.
Boom also has plans to eventually make their 45-seat supersonic planes as affordable for passengers as a conventional business class ticket. The company is currently working on reducing the noise that accompanies a supersonic takeoff. Their goal is to have these planes available for service by 2023.
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