In today’s edition of “getting a little ahead of yourself,” American Airlines has placed a non-refundable deposit on 20 Boom Supersonic jets, The Hill reports. Unfortunately for AA, those planes don’t actually exist yet. In fact, the design is still being worked out on the drawing board.
Boom is pitching an ambitious plan. It claims that its supersonic jets will have a top speed of 1,300 mph — roughly 1.7 times the speed of sound. Each plane would be able to carry between 65 and 80 passengers with ticket costing between $4,000 and $5,000. And despite the lack of an actual jet, CEO Blake Scholl says the company will still be ready to run its first 3.5-hour flight from New York City to London in 2029.
The last supersonic passenger flight was run by Concorde almost 20 years ago, but it never really caught on thanks to high costs. Boom is confident it’s going to do things differently — despite the fact that it doesn’t even have an engine supplier ready. It also intends to run solely on sustainable fuel, which is still very difficult to source.
And that’s all before touching on the aircraft certification process. The Federal Aviation Administration can require years of testing and analysis before certifying planes, even for well-established manufacturers like Boeing — and even when the craft isn’t massively experimental. As a new manufacturer creating a new product, Boom will likely be subject to an even longer certification process than normal.
Neither AA nor Boom would publicly comment on the finances of their arrangement, but it’s easy to believe that investing in a supersonic jet may come with a hefty price tag. As a wise man once said, “It’s a bold strategy, Cotton. Let’s see if it pays off for ‘em.”