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Video: American Airlines to buy 20 supersonic jets, plans to fly before 2030

Boeing 777-300 at O'Hare International Airport. (E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune/TNS)
November 07, 2022

American Airlines is set to purchase up to 20 supersonic jets from Boom Supersonic, an American company that hopes to bring back faster-than-sound travel for the first time in decades, the airline has announced.

It’s the third order for Boom’s Overture jets, after United Airlines committed to buying 15 and Japan Airlines pre-ordered up to 20.

“Looking to the future, supersonic travel will be an important part of our ability to deliver for our customers,” said AA Chief Financial Officer Derek Kerr. “We are excited about how Boom will shape the future of travel both for our company and our customers.”

Past supersonic air travel was dominated by the Concorde jet, which flew for 27 years until it was retired in 2003 for lack of demand, according to Distractify.

The Overture jet, still years away, will carry 65 to 80 passengers and fly as fast as 1,304 miles per hour, according to AA’s announcement. That’s slightly slower than the Concorde, but enough to cut the more-than-eight-hour flight from Seattle to Tokyo to less than five hours. 

Most commercial airliners fly between 550 and 600 miles per hour, less than half Overture’s proposed supersonic speed, according to FLYING Magazine.

Boom Supersonic recently signed a three-year contract with the U.S. Air Force to “accelerate research and development on Overture,” the company announced.

The jet is “designed to run on 100% sustainable aviation fuel” and is “expected to be the first large commercial aircraft to be net zero carbon from day one,” according to the announcement.

Boom hopes to begin manufacturing the jets in 2023 and begin flying passengers by 2030, the announcement states.

The Overture jets are set to be built at a new North Carolina “superfactory,” which is poised to add more than 2,400 jobs to the area by 2032, according to Boom’s announcement.