American Airlines bets on supersonic travel with Boom jet deal

An American Airlines aircraft flies past the US Capitol before landing at Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Virginia, US, January 24, 2022. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo

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Aug 16 (Reuters) – American Airlines Group Inc (AAL.O) on Tuesday agreed to buy up to 20 jets from aircraft maker Boom Supersonic, becoming the second major US airline to bet on ultra-fast passenger travel in the last two years.

American, which also has an option to purchase 40 additional Overture jets, has made an unspecified non-refundable deposit on the initial 20 planes, each of which can carry 65 to 80 passengers, the companies said.

Boom’s four-engine Overture jet can fly people from Miami to London in just under five hours, the company said, cutting the nearly nine-hour flight time between the cities by about half.

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American spokesperson Matt Miller said it was too early to discuss ticket prices, given the aircraft isn’t expected to carry its first passengers until 2029.

The era of regular commercial supersonic flights appeared to have ended in 2003 when Concorde, flown by Air France and British Airways, was retired after 27 years of service.

But last year, United Airlines Holdings Inc (UAL.O) agreed to buy 15 Boom Overture aircraft subject to them meeting certain safety, operating and sustainability requirements. A similar condition is also part of the American Airlines’ agreement on Tuesday. read more

Supersonic jets have come under criticism from environmentalists for burning more fuel per passenger than comparable subsonic planes.

The Overture jet, being designed to run 100% on sustainable aviation fuel or a blend, will be rolled out of Boom’s Greensboro, North Carolina factory in 2025, followed by test flights in 2026.

The Allied Pilots Association (APA), which represents pilots of American Airlines, criticized the deal, saying the carrier should instead focus on reducing cancellations and delays which have hit its operations this year. read more

“If there aren’t any changes to how management schedules this airline and its pilots, there will just be supersonic cancellations,” APA spokesperson Dennis Tajer said.

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Reporting by Nathan Gomes in Bengaluru and additional reporting by Rajesh Kumar Singh in Chicago; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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