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Aviation startup Boom Technology is developing a supersonic passenger plane that will seat 45 to 55 passengers. The Denver-based aircraft company gained a new investor on Wednesday: Chinese travel conglomerate Ctrip.

The new investor is a major step toward Boom’s goal of having the supersonic jet on the market by 2023. Industry insiders have compared the jet to the now-defunct Concorde, which was known for completing its iconic transatlantic route in less than half the time of traditional aircraft.

Boom Technology’s plane would offer a similar service on transpacific routes to Asia. “San Francisco to Shanghai, for example, could shrink from 11 hours to 6 — and a typical round-trip itinerary can be accomplished two whole days faster,” Boom CEO Blake Scholl said in a press release. The plans for the aircraft show it reaching speeds up to Mach 2.2 (1,451 miles/hour), which is about twice as fast as the average passenger jet.

It is not clear exactly how much Ctrip is investing in the Boom. The company had raised $47.3 million as of December 2017, after a $10 million investment from Japan Airlines, according to numbers from funding tracker site Crunchbase.

“All that I can say from my end is that Boom has raised (so far) over US$85 million, including seed investment, venture capital, and investments from strategic partners,” Ctrip Senior International PR Manager Wei Yuan Min told Jing Travel. “At Ctrip, we invest in the future to ensure that our users are able to have access to futuristic experiences.”

It is possible that Ctrip invested the difference between the $47.3 million Boom raised in its December funding round and the $85 million it says it has now. An investment of about $40 million would not be untypical for Ctrip. In 2016, it executed a $1.74 billion acquisition of Scottish travel fare metasearch engine Skyscanner.

According to Ctrip Co-founder and Executive Chairman James Liang: “As a leading innovator in the commercial aviation industry, Boom will be positioned to provide exciting premium global flight options for Ctrip users and Ctrip is making a strategic investment in the next generation of travel.”

Featured image courtesy Boom Technology.

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