Japan Airlines signals supersonic ambitions

Japan Airlines signals supersonic ambitions

Japan Airlines signals supersonic ambitions

After costs and noise complaints killed off that supersonic jet, NASA, Lockheed Martin Corp., General Electric Co. and a number of startups including Boom saw new designs and technology that could make supersonic flight a commercial reality.

Boom Supersonic said it received a $10 million investment from Japan Airlines Tuesday as it looks to build a jet that could take travelers from NY to London in just over three hours, potentially zipping by commercial planes from giants Boeing (BA) and Airbus (EADSY).

"Through this partnership, we hope to contribute to the future of supersonic travel with the intent of providing more time to our valued passengers", said the JAL president Yoshiharu Ueki.

The new-generation supersonic aircraft, scheduled to be launched in the mid-2020s, has a maximum flying range of 8,334 kilometres at a speed of Mach 2.2 or 2,335 kilometres per hour.

Last year Branson teamed up with the startup to reveal its prototype jet, which will carry passengers from London to NY in three and a half hours for an "affordable" $5,000 return.

The company has said previously it expected fares to be similar to what is offered for business class travel now.

The payoff for the investment is likely years away when Boom doesn't expect the first aircraft to enter service until 2023. The Franco-British jet traveled at twice the speed of sound, crossing the Atlantic in just three and a half hours.

Japan Airlines is the second company to have publicly announced it was holding options in the supersonic jet. Virgin, Richard Branson's airline, has earmarked 10. The deal includes options for 20 aircraft.

"JAL's passionate, visionary team offers decades of practical knowledge and wisdom on everything from the passenger experience to technical operations", Scholl said. Having airline stakeholders closely involved in the development of its aircraft and service plans will work in practice is a huge boon for Boom, which is a very small company with very ambitious goals.

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.

The two companies unveiled a strategic partnership today, with the Japanese company saying it had pre-ordered 20 jets, dubbed the "mini Concorde".

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