Japan Airline is investing at least US$10 million in the Denver-based start-up, and will be helping Boom to refine the aircraft design and help define the passenger experience for supersonic travel.
The carrier also has an option of purchasing up to 20 Boom Supersonic aircraft, once they become commercially available. This adds to existing orders from airlines that Boom already has in place, bringing its total to 76 aircraft accounted for across five global airlines. It has already paired with Virgin founder Richard Branson, who announced last year that his company had options on the first 10 Boom jets.
“We’ve been working with Japan Airlines behind the scenes for over a year now,” said Blake Scholl, founder and CEO of Boom Supersonic. “JAL’s passionate, visionary team offers decades of practical knowledge and wisdom on everything from the passenger experience to technical operations. We’re thrilled to be working with JAL to develop a reliable, easily-maintained aircraft that will provide revolutionary speed to passengers. Our goal is to develop an airliner that will be a great addition to any international airline’s fleet.”
JAL hopes that these faster-than-sound aircraft would help successfully cut flight times in half with cruising speeds of Mach 2.2 — more than 1,450 miles an hour.“That would make the trip from San Francisco to Tokyo a more bearable five and a half hour,” said Scholl.
Boom is planning to test its designs on a one-third scale demonstrator plane, which it calls "Baby Boom," in late 2018 and expects the planes to be delivered by the mid-2020s.The first aircraft to enter service will not happen until 2023.
Boom and Japan Airlines are considering transoceanic routes, but don't expect a cross-country trip to take less time. A 1973 US law banned overland commercial supersonic flight.
Scholl envisions an all-business-class configuration would be more economical than the Concorde. The final Concorde flight was in October 2003, as a deadly crash and economic downturn hurt demand for seats aboard the supersonic jet.