First there was Concorde, which brought supersonic flight to commercial passen- gers, then Boeing’s Sonic Cruiser, a high sub-sonic, delta-wing design that stayed
on the drawing board. Since then, new airliner
design has stayed away from supersonic. A US
entrepreneurial company hopes to change that.
Denver, Colorado-based Boom Technology is building the XB- 1 “Baby Boom” demonstrator that would fy
at Mach 2. 2, cost about $200 million per aircraft and
seat about 55 people.
Briefng guests at a pre-conference event during the
Boyd Group International Aviation Summit in Denver
in August, Boom Technology CEO Blake Scholl said the
company was fully funded to get the demonstrator of
the supersonic airliner in the air by the end of 2019.
Te company could be ready to deliver its frst aircraft to an airline as early as 2025 and is aiming to get
to an annual production rate of 60 aircraft, Scholl said.
“We’re the only supersonic program to be fully funded through frst fight,” Scholl said.
Japan Airlines (JAL) has invested $10 million in
Boom, giving it the option to purchase 20 of the airliners. Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic has also taken
options for 10 Boom aircraft.
While the aircraft is being developed using existing
technology, reducing risk and costs, it would still require
a ticket price that would put it in the upper-premium
class. Te $200 million price tag would make it about
$60 million more expensive than a Boeing 787-9, but
Scholl argues the “cost magic” of the supersonic aircraft
lies with its “speed dividend.” Because it could potentially
halve the fight time of long-haul routes, Scholl says an
airline would get twice as many trips out of the aircraft;
for example, 1,327 trips per year versus a 787’s 584.
Boom is also promoting the idea that airlines would be
able to segment its premium trafc, with high-yield passengers willing to pay more to greatly reduce their fight times.
XB- 1 demonstrator.
O L O G Y RESURGE
A new era of supersonic commercial flight could
closer than you think. BY KAREN WALKER