Blake Scholl, founder of Boom Supersonic, views the Concorde era nostalgically. His company would like to provide supersonic air travel with a fleet of supersonic jets serving hundreds of destinations around the world.
Boom also hopes to make supersonic air travel financially viable and relatively affordable, with one-way fares from London to New York from £2,000, roughly the same as a business class ticket today. Boom Supersonic has joined other companies that are attempting to revive planes that can exceed the speed of sound.
Boom, based in Denver, has developed a prototype for a 55-seater jet with a cruising speed of 1,451mph, 100 mph faster than the Concorde. They hope to begin commercial operations in 2025.
“We are focused on accelerating long transoceanic trips. We want to get the economy of the plane down so that anybody who flies can fly fast,” Scholl told the Independent at the Farnborough Airshow. “This is not a private jet for the ultra-wealthy.”
Scholl would like to service 500 destinations. Virgin Atlantic, Japan Airlines, and two other carriers have already expressed interest in purchasing the first Boom planes. In the meantime, the company faces strict environmental regulations that restrict fuel consumption and noise limits.
“Supersonic jets don’t need to be louder than other jets; Concorde was 1960s technology,” Scholl said. “Concorde was a gas guzzler. Since then there has been huge progress in engine design and materials.”
The Boom founder would like to start testing his prototype as early as next year. He has already carried out over 1,000 wind tunnel tests. “I have long been passionate about aerospace innovation and the development of high-speed commercial flights,” he said.
Scholl also believes supersonic air travel will no longer be a “bucket-list purchase” and that “step-by-step it will become available for everyone”.
Scholl estimated that a round trip across the Atlantic may cost $5,000, “still expensive relative to economy - but if you can afford to fly premium you can afford to get there in half the time”.
Boom’s competitors include Spike Aerospace, Nasa with Lockheed Martin and Airbus with Aerion Corporation.
Last month, Boeing unveiled a rendering of its hypersonic plane, which would be capable of flying at Mach 5 or above, roughly 3,900 miles per hour. This would far exceed the Concorde, which had a maximum capacity of Mach 2.04, nearly 1,354 miles per hour at full throttle.