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United makes history?

Updated: Jun 6, 2021

On the 3rd of June, United made an unexpected but historic announcement which shocked the airline industry. They stated their intent to order 50 aircraft, but not of Airbus or Boeing. In an unprecedented move, they ordered the Boom Overture, which is a supersonic commercial aircraft. Yes, you read that right.

Boom was a company founded by trio Blake Scholl, Josh Krall and Joe Wilding in 2014. It's mission was to bring back the supersonic era. In the space of around 4-5 years, it designed the supersonic airliner of tomorrow, the Overture. The Overture is a 55-seat supersonic jet designed with delta wings, medium-bypass turbofan engines and a barrier-breaking speed of Mach 2.2, the fastest ever speed for an airliner. Boom aims to make supersonic travel more affordable, as it was much more expensive and considered a luxury back in the 1960s.

With this new partnership, long haul flights can be made to feel like short haul. A London-Newark flight takes around 7 hours with a regular jetliner, but with the Overture the route will clock in at 3 and a half hours. Another example is San Francisco-Tokyo, for what could be a 15 hour flight can instead end up taking 6 hours.

However, there has been a glaring question: How will the environment be impacted? Well, Boom aims to utilize technology that allows engines to be shut off during supersonic cruise, which leads to less fuel consumption and pollution. And speaking of fuel, United claims that they will use "100% sustainable aviation fuels," but not much detail is provided as to how. Other aspects like the reduction of sonic booms and how United plans to configure these planes still remain unknown.

However United and Boom plan to go ahead with operations, it will be interesting to see how supersonic travel makes a return after two decades of inactivity, and if any other airlines will follow suit. Would you consider flying in a supersonic jet? Comment down below!

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