JAL Invests In Boom Supersonic Jet

December 5, 2017

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Japan Airlines (JAL) has announced a strategic partnership with Boom Supersonic, a company developing a new-generation supersonic passenger aircraft.

JAL said it has invested USD$10 million in Boom and will collaborate with the company on aircraft design and “help define the passenger experience for supersonic travel.” The airline has also taken options on up to 20 Boom aircraft through a pre-order agreement.

“Through this partnership, we hope to contribute to the future of supersonic travel with the intent of providing more ‘time’ to our valued passengers while emphasizing flight safety,” JAL president Yoshiharu Ueki said.

Denver-based Boom is developing a 55-seat passenger plane, designed to fly at Mach 2.2, over twice the speed of sound, and slightly faster than the only previous supersonic airliner to enter widespread commercial service, Concorde.

“We’re thrilled to be working with JAL to develop a reliable, easily-maintained aircraft that will provide revolutionary speed to passengers,” Boom’s chief executive Blake Scholl said. “Our goal is to develop an airliner that will be a great addition to any international airline’s fleet.”

The three-engined aircraft has a design range of 4,500 nautical miles (8,334 km) and Boom is aiming to achieve an ETOPS rating to allow greater flexibility for over-water flying. It will cost around $200 million, plus options, at 2016 dollar values.

Boom expects its first aircraft, the XB-1, to fly sometime in 2018, and the launch of commercial supersonic flights “in the early 2020s”. The company says operating cost per seat-mile will be comparable to subsonic business class.

UK airline Virgin Atlantic already has options for 10 of the aircraft, and an unnamed European carrier has options on 15 more, Boom has said.