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American Airlines places deposit on 20 supersonic Boom aircraft

August 16 2022
2 min read
American Airlines places deposit on 20 supersonic Boom aircraft
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American Airlines is the latest airline to have supersonic aspirations.

The Fort Worth, Texas-based airline on Tuesday announced it had placed a deposit for 20 Boom Overture supersonic jets, with options for 40 more.

“Looking to the future, supersonic travel will be an important part of our ability to deliver for our customers,” American Airlines chief financial officer Derek Kerr said in a statement. “We are excited about how Boom will shape the future of travel both for our company and our customers.”

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The final design for the supersonic Overture was recently announced at the Farnborough Airshow. The aircraft is expected to carry between 65 and 80 passengers at Mach 1.7 — or 1.7 times the speed of sound — and burn sustainable aviation fuel. An American Airlines press release mentioned supersonic flights between Miami and London (just under five hours) and Los Angeles and Honolulu (three hours) as route possibilities.

American's order for the Overture comes a little over a year after United Airlines announced a deal to purchase up to 50 of the jets. But it also comes as the plane — and the company — face mounting scrutiny about the ambitions of the project.

Notably, the Overture lacks an engine — which must propel the aircraft at supersonic speeds while burning sustainable aviation fuel. Boom has partnered with Rolls-Royce on engine concepts, but the engine maker's CEO, Warren East, recently told industry publication The Air Current that his company did not have anyone assigned to designing the engine.

"We're not making anything speculative for anybody," East told The Air Current.

More: United Airlines announces deal with Boom Supersonic for faster-than-sound commercial flights

Despite these challenges, Boom is sticking to its ambitious timeline for the jet. It expects the aircraft to roll out in 2025, have its first flight in 2026 and carry its first passengers by 2029.

It's unknown how much American's deposit for the aircraft was, but some observers and analysts noted that American has the most heavily leveraged balance sheet of any U.S. carrier and that this transaction would incur even more debt.

Featured photo by Boom Overture. (Photo courtesy of Boom Supersonic)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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