This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
The potential return of supersonic travel has been a hot topic lately, thanks in no small part to the Denver-based startup Boom Supersonic. Now, the program is getting another boost in the form of an investment by Japan Airlines. JAL announced on Tuesday that it’s investing at least $10 million in the startup, which hopes to return supersonic speed to the commercial market. Boom is expected to be faster, more affordable to fly and quieter than its predecessor, the Concorde.
As part of JAL’s investment in Boom, the Tokyo-based carrier now has the option to purchase up to 20 Boom aircraft. The airline will also help Boom by providing its experience and knowledge to help design the aircraft and establish what the passenger experience will look like.
According to Boom founder and CEO Black Scholl, the two companies have been working together for more than a year. Tuesday’s announcement formalizes the relationship. JAL is the first commercial airline to go public with its funding in Boom. However, the supersonic company, which plans to launch commercial service by the mid-2020s, already has orders for 76 planes, including orders from five global airlines. In addition, the company has received backing from Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, which has options on the first 10 Boom jets.
When they enter service, Boom’s aircraft are expected to be at least 30x quieter than the Concorde. In addition, the company estimates that its fares would be comparable to business-class fares we’re used to seeing today, and 75% lower than those of the Concorde’s. Among other factors, the Concorde was doomed by its high fuel consumption and high operating costs, components Boom isn’t expecting to have issue with.
The current Boom model is designed to reach speeds of Mach 2.2 while cruising — more than 1,450 miles per hour. In all, the supersonic jet could make the trip between the West Coast of the US and Tokyo in 5.5 hours — less than half of what the trip currently takes. Plus, by 2023, Boom plans to offer lie-flat seats on its supersonic jets.
“We expect to do many deals with many airlines,” Scholl explained to TechCrunch in an email. “Initially, our goal is to select at least one partner in every region of the world. We will continue to engage with other global carriers to maximize the value of JAL’s investment and bring back supersonic commercial travel.”
JAL’s investment isn’t the first time that commercial airlines have ordered or invested in supersonic jets. While Boom has high hopes for what its future will look like in terms of partners, orders and investments from the commercial aviation sector, the Concorde had a similar outlook during its beginning stages. In the 1970s, several airlines places orders for the Concorde before eventually cancelling — TWA, American, Continental, United, JAL and more. Even with this investment, commercial supersonic travel returning to the skies is still a long way off.
Know before you go.
News and deals straight to your inbox every day.
NEW INCREASED OFFER: 60,000 points! With great travel benefits, 2x points on travel & dining and a 60,000 point sign up bonus worth up to $1,200 in value, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game. Here are the top 5 reasons it should be in your wallet, or read our definitive review for more details.
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards