Boots & Sabers

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1039, 05 Jun 21

Commercial Air Travel Returns to Supersonic

What is interesting about this is not the technology. We have had the technology for supersonic commercial air travel for decades (yes, I did ride on the Concorde once as a child). What is interesting is that this seems to be an indication that United, at least, believes that the commercial model of air travel is changing.

The commercial air travel market has been squeezed to the bottom for some time. While everybody says they want more space, more luxuries, faster transits, and more direct flights, there just haven’t been enough people willing to pay for it for airlines to sustain a high-end model. United’s move seems to indicate that they think that the high-end air travel market may be sustainable enough in the future to make supersonic flights commercially viable again.

US airline United has announced plans to buy 15 new supersonic airliners and “return supersonic speeds to aviation” in the year 2029.

Supersonic passenger flights ended in 2003 when Air France and British Airways retired Concorde.


The new Overture aircraft will be produced by a Denver-based company called Boom, which has yet to flight-test a supersonic jet.

United’s deal is conditional on the new aircraft meeting safety standards.


1039, 05 June 2021


  1. Mar

    Wonder if the planes will fly with solar panels?

  2. Merlin

    Unless they can solve the massive fuel efficiency problems that plagued the original SSTs this type of flight will remain just for the one percenters. Being a flying fuel tank with precious little cargo room meant revenue could only come from butts in the seats. Fuel consumption was such that London to New York usually arrived with low fuel state. They were technical marvels for sure, but with a very limited clientele. It will be interesting to see what Boom can actually do about commercial viability.

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