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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 April 2019

Supersonic jet will fly from Dubai to Boston in just 7 hours

Boom Supersonic's commercial plane is called Overture and will travel at more than twice the speed of sound

Overture will fly for the first time later this year. Courtesy: Supersonic Boom
Overture will fly for the first time later this year. Courtesy: Supersonic Boom

A Colorado-based company has closed a $100 million (Dh367m) deal for the next stage of its supersonic flight project.

Overture, a 55-seat commercial jet, will bring supersonic travel to millions of passengers, with fares to be comparable to current business-class prices on traditional aircraft.

The funding will allow the company to develop its prototype Mach-2.2 airliner, and solidify plans for a half-size prototype of the craft to fly later this year.

Both the Virgin Group and Japan Airlines have placed orders for the Overture planes, which are on schedule to begin flying commercially in 2020. Passengers on board the supersonic jets will be able to travel from London to Washington DC in three-and-a-half hours, or from Dubai to Boston in a little over seven hours – less than half the time of conventional jets.

Laurene Powell Jobs, wife of the late Steve Jobs, is head of one of the companies investing in the project, which is also supported by an array of Silicon Valley players.

The post-Concorde era

British Airways Concorde flight G-BOAC takes off in May 1986. The last flight of the Concorde was on October 24, 2003 and we've been flying on subsonic planes since. Boom Supersonic's Overture could be the first flight to to fly faster than the speed of sound in 16 years. Courtesy Eduard Marmet
British Airways' Concorde, Flight G-BOAC, takes off in May 1986. The jet's final flight was on October 24, 2003 and we've been flying on subsonic planes ever since. Courtesy Eduard Marmet

In what is being called a new era of supersonic travel in a post-Concorde world, Overture passengers won’t need to choose between window or aisle seats as every chair will have both options. The three-engine planes are to be half the size of Concorde and fly slightly faster, reaching speeds of more than 2,334 kilometres per hour. They will also be much quieter, with developers confirming the jets will be only as loud as subsonic planes on take-off and landing.

Boom is not the only company on the verge of reintroducing supersonic travel to the world. Spike Aerospace is pitching an 18-passenger luxury craft that will cut flight times in half and Aerion Supersonic has completed its first supersonic engine for business jets.

All seats on Overture will have window and aisle benefits. Courtesy Supersonic Boom
All seats on Overture will have window and aisle benefits. Courtesy: Supersonic Boom

Environmental concerns

According to Boom Supersonic, Overture will be the most environmentally friendly supersonic jet ever made. Lightweight carbon composites and engines designed to maximise next-generation sustainable fuels will help reduce its effect on the environment.

Doubts were raised by the International Council on Clean Transportation, with suggestions that the new planes could fail current emission standards. But Boom's chief of global policy Eli Dourado rebutted the findings.

“Our airliner will have similar fuel burn per seat-mile to today’s subsonic business class. The ICCT analysis has incorrect assumptions about business-class fuel burn on subsonic flights as well as Overture’s efficiency levels,” he told The National.

Supersonic Boom's Overture will fly from Dubai to Boston in a little over seven hours, less than half the current journey time. Courtesy: Supersonic Boom
Supersonic Boom's Overture will fly from Dubai to Boston in a little over seven hours, less than half the current journey time. Courtesy: Supersonic Boom

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Updated: January 16, 2019 04:56 PM

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