United Airlines is hoping to get passengers to their destinations in half the current time by the end of the decade.
On Thursday, United announced an agreement with Boom Supersonic, a Denver-based aerospace company, to purchase aircraft from the company. United will buy 15 of the company’s Overture airliners, with an option for an additional 35.
The Overture is capable of flying at speeds of Mach 1.7, twice the speed of today’s fastest airliners. That means many of United’s routes can be cut down to half the time needed to fly — think New York to London in 3.5 hours and San Francisco to Tokyo in just 6 hours.
“United continues on its trajectory to build a more innovative, sustainable airline, and today’s advancements in technology are making it more viable for that to include supersonic planes,” United CEO Scott Kirby said in a release.
Overture is expected to be the first large commercial aircraft to be net-zero carbon from day one, optimized to run on 100 percent sustainable aviation fuel, something of high importance to United.
“The world’s first purchase agreement for net-zero carbon supersonic aircraft marks a significant step toward our mission to create a more accessible world,” said Blake Scholl, Boom Supersonic founder and CEO. “United and Boom share a common purpose — to unite the world safely and sustainably.”
Boom expects the first planes to be ready in 2025, to fly in 2026, and to carry passengers by 2029. As production ramps up, Boom and United will work together to accelerate greater production of sustainable aviation fuel.
“Boom’s vision for the future of commercial aviation, combined with the industry’s most robust route network in the world, will give business and leisure travelers access to a stellar flight experience,” Kirby said. “Our mission has always been about connecting people, and now working with Boom, we’ll be able to do that on an even greater scale.”
Boom Supersonic was founded in 2014 and spent its first few years lining up funding from a number of venture capital groups, as well as $10 million from Japan Airlines. The deal with United is the first major agreement it has signed with an airline to produce aircraft.
“At speeds twice as fast, United passengers will experience all the advantages of life lived in person, from deeper, more productive business relationships to longer, more relaxing vacations to far-off destinations,” Scholl said.
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