Japan Airlines puts millions into U.S. startup's supersonic plane

Japan Airlines puts millions into U.S. startup's supersonic plane

Japan Airlines puts millions into U.S. startup's supersonic plane

Yoshiharu Ueki, president of JAL, said: "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 emphasising flight safety". By relying on non-afterburning engines, composite structures and existing technology, the Boom airliner will be created to operate at a quarter of the costs of Concorde.

The decision makes JAL the second identified Boom customer after a commitment by Virgin Group in November 2016 to order up to 10 aircraft.

Japan Airlines (JAL) has invested millions of U.S. dollars in a Richard Branson-backed plan to reintroduce supersonic passenger flights 14 years after the Concorde was retired.

Boom CEO Blake Scholl said that his company has been working with JAL behind the scenes for more than a year. Airlines who get in line early for all-new jets can benefit from intimate involvement in the design process, giving their wish list for features they think will please passengers, pilots, flight attendants and maintenance crews. That plane which passed a preliminary design review in May, is scheduled to fly next year.

Including JAL's investment, Boom has now raised a total of $51 million, according to Scholl, and he suggested more funds are in the pipeline.

D This is the new Boom Supersonic jet'in production
D This is the new Boom Supersonic jet'in production

Boom plans to build its 55=seat supersonic jet using off-the-shelf technology, and sell its seats for the normal price of business class travel.

The Spaceship Co, a wholly owned subsidiary of Branson's Virgin Galactic, is already working with Boom on the development of the supersonic jets, which are expected to have 45 to 55 business-class seats. "The two companies will cooperate closely to realize faster and more convenient air travel", the companies' announcement said. The full-scale airliner will require three much larger engines. In addition, it is designing the aircraft to keep costs down so airlines can charge fares comparable to business class. Round-trip fares on the Concorde between NY and London generally were more than $10,000, according to the BBC, while Boom lists its projected costs as $2,500 per leg for the same journey. A 1973 US law banned overland commercial supersonic flight.

At twice the speed of sound, a flight between San Francisco and Tokyo would take around five and a half hours, including a stop for fuel along the way, Scholl said.

The speed isn't just attractive for intercontinental flights, Scholl said.

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