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United Airlines turned all mysterious yesterday when it deleted all of its images from Instagram and used its social media channels to tease an announcement scheduled for 6:00 am Central Time. Well, the teasing is now over and we know what it was all about – United is the first airline to sign a commercial agreement to buy aircraft from Boom Supersonic.
Under the terms of the agreement United has signed with Boom, the airline will buy 15 ‘Overture’ aircraft once Overture “meets United’s demanding safety, operating and sustainability requirements” and it has an option to purchase a further 35 aircraft in the future.
Once operational, Overture is expected to be the first large commercial aircraft to be net-zero carbon from day one, optimized to run on 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). It is slated to roll out in 2025, fly in 2026 and expected to carry passengers by 2029. United and Boom will also work together to accelerate production of greater supplies of SAF.
Overture is expected to be able to reach speeds of Mach 1.7 (~1,305 mph) meaning that it should be able to transport passengers twice as quickly as the fastest commercial airline in operation today. Interestingly, however, the new aircraft still won’t be as fast as Concorde which could reach speeds of over Mach 2 (~1,535 mph).
United says that potential routes for Overture would include Newark – London (3.5 hours), Newark – Frankfurt (4 hours), and San Francisco – Tokyo (6 hours) but ultimately, the routes that Overture will fly will be dependant on what permissions the airline can get to fly its new aircraft over land (an issue that plagued Concorde for its entire life).
Where Overture will differ significantly from Concorde will be in the areas of efficiency and emissions, and with United confirming that its new supersonic aircraft will offer in-seat entertainment screens, ample personal space, and contactless technology, Overture sounds like it will be considerably more comfortable too.
Boom Supersonic has signed an agreement with United Airlines to supply it with 15 supersonic Overture aircraft with United also holding an option for a further 35 aircraft. Overture is expected to be ready for flight testing by 2026 and for commercial operations by 2029 but as always when it comes to the development of aircraft, those dates are definitely not fixed in stone.