United Airlines has announced its intention to buy 15 ‘Overture’ ultra-fast jets from Denver-based Boom Supersonic with an option to acquire a further 35 provided that they meet United’s safety, operating and sustainability requirements. This would see the return of supersonic trans-Atlantic flights which have been absent since the demise of Concorde in 2003.
The announcement has come less than two weeks since Aerion announced that it was no longer building a supersonic jet after it ran out of funding. One major concern for environmentalists has been the inability for supersonic aviation to meet greenhouse gas emission targets, with United having pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 100% by 2050. However, the carrier confirmed that the Boom Overture jet will operate using 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) by the time it enters into service, projected for 2029.
The Overture will initially provide business-class flights on an aircraft with between 65 and 88 seats, reducing current transatlantic flight times in half to approximately three and a half hours. United will also need to seek approval from the Federal Aviation Administration for supersonic flight over land, while airports will likely require that the jet be no noisier than current subsonic jets.