Boom Supersonic Jets With Lie-Flat Seats to Debut by 2023
At the Paris Air Show today, Boom Supersonic unveiled the complete, refined design of its XB-1 Supersonic Demonstrator, which is set to begin flying next year. Plus, Boom added that the aircraft is going to offer customers a first-class product with lie-flat seats. And with the model in place, the prospect of supersonic travel with Boom is now even closer to a reality, as the company announced that it's received 76 orders from five airlines.
Earlier this year, the company secured $33 million to go toward building its prototype. And at the Paris Air Show, Boom released photos of what it'll look like — both its exterior and interior. Perhaps the biggest news from the Paris Air Show is that the XB-1 will feature a first-class product with full, lie-flat seats.
Inside the jet will also be business-class seats, which aren't lie-flat. When TPG contributor Jason Steele visited Boom, he found that the business-class product will be similar to what passengers can find in domestic first-class cabins.
Airlines will have the option of ordering one of two configurations: 45 seats in a two-class configuration (30 first-class seats and 15 business-class seats) or 55 seats in a one-class configuration (all business class). The jet will cost customers $200 million.
The XB-1 design has been optimized since the design was originally unveiled last year. The updated design meets performance and safety standards, including a third inlet located in the tail. The new design also provides greater propulsion stability.
As of now, Virgin is the only known customer, and the other four will be announced at special events. Note that the unveiling today was for the Demonstrator aircraft, not the passenger jet. On board the passenger jet, travelers can expect two crew, up to four flight attendants and two lavatories.
According to a press release, the first flight of the XB-1 Demonstrator will take place in 2018, and subsonic flight testing will be conducted near Denver. Supersonic Boom test flights will take place near Edwards Air Force Base in Southern California. Boom expects the passenger jet to take to the skies and begin operations by 2023.
This is exciting news for travelers, as Boom will get you to your destination far quicker without a steep price premium. A round-trip business-class ticket from London to New York is estimated at $5,000 — pretty competitive by today's standards. As for flight time, Boom says the XB-1 will be able to fly between the two cities in three hours and 15 minutes — less than half the typical flight time for the aircraft we have today. It'll be interesting in the coming weeks or months to see who Boom's other customers are.