Supersonic jetliner travel, which ended more than a decade ago with the Concorde, has received a boost as Japan Airlines agrees to invest US$10 million ($14.5 million) in USA startup Boom Technology. Japan Airlines will also lend its knowledge and experience to help Boom develop its supersonic passenger aircraft, which could fly at a speed of Mach 2.2 (1,451 mph) and cut global travel times in half as soon as 2023.
Boom Supersonic is a Denver-based company dedicated to removing the barriers to experiencing the planet, starting by building a Mach-2.2 airliner economical enough to operate with business-class fares.
As part of the agreement, JAL has made a strategic investment of United States dollars 10 million in Boom and is collaborating with the company to refine the aircraft design and help define the passenger experience for supersonic travel.
Boom Supersonic's airliner concept travels at 1,451 miles per hour and carries 55 passengers.
Shaving off considerable travel time won't come cheap though. The company says operating cost per seat-mile will be comparable to subsonic business class. The aircraft, which aims for an entry into service in the mid-2020s, will have a range of 8,334 kilometers, roughly the distance between Beijing and London.
X Under the deal, Japan's No. 2 carrier has the option to buy 20 aircraft and will help with aircraft design.More news: Obama: Cities, states new climate change leaders
"JAL's passionate, visionary team offers decades of practical knowledge and wisdom on everything from the passenger experience to technical operations", Scholl said. "We're thrilled to be working with JAL to develop a reliable, easily-maintained aircraft that will provide revolutionary speed to passengers", he added.
Scholl said on a blog post on the company's website Japan Airlines was the "first airline in history to make a material financial commitment to a faster future", noting the pre-orders for the Concord held no financial commitment. The Concorde had a maximum speed just over twice the speed of sound and could seat more than 100 passengers, but rising maintenance costs and a decline in passengers following a deadly post-takeoff crash in Paris in July 2000 forced its retirement.
"Our goal is to develop an airliner that will be a great addition to any worldwide airline's fleet", Scholl said.
Two US Senators - Mike Lee and Cory Garner - have intervened on Boom's behalf in a proposed amendment to the US Federal Aviation Administration re-authorisation bill.
A file image of Her Majesty The Queen arriving in Kuwait by Concorde in 1979.