Boom Supersonic will build its super-fast jets in North Carolina


Boom Aviation's Overture Supersonic Jet. image Credit: Boom Aviation
Boom Supersonic's Overture Supersonic Jet. image Credit: Boom Supersonic

One of the first new (arguably sustainable) airplane manufacturers in the U.S. to launch in decades is making its manufacturing home in Greensboro, North Carolina.


Boom Supersonic, the company that touts itself as being the first sustainable supersonic jet manufacturer (the company plans to run solely on sustainable aviation fuel), said that the Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro, North Carolina will be the first site for its initial full-scale manufacturing facility.


Boom joins the flood of next generation sustainable manufacturers moving to the southeast to make everything from electric vehicles and batteries (literally everybody working on EVs -- except Tesla) to airplanes (Boom) to sustainable chemicals (LanzaTech).


The "Superfactory" that's getting built in North Carolina will include a final assembly line, test facility, and customer delivery center for the company's Overture supersonic airliner.


That plane (when it's built) will carry up to 88 passengers using only (sustainable aviation fuel) at twice the speed of today's fastest passenger jets.


"Selecting the site for Overture manufacturing is a significant step forward in bringing sustainable supersonic air travel to passengers and airlines," said Blake Scholl, founder and CEO of Boom Supersonic, in a statement. "With some of the country's best and brightest aviation talent, key suppliers, and the state of North Carolina's continued support, Boom is confident that Greensboro will emerge as the world's supersonic manufacturing hub."


Coincidentally, LanzaTech -- one of the companies down the way from Boom in Georgia -- is developing just the kind of sustainable aviation fuel that Boom's planes will use.


As Boom noted in their statement, the Greensboro, NC area is close to a number of aerospace suppliers and its proximity to the Eastern seaboard will allow the company to conduct its supersonic flight testing over the Atlantic Ocean. The company said it'll still be headquartered outside of Denver.


The roughly 400,000 square feet facility will be built on a 65-acre campus at the Piedmont Triad International Airport, and should bring in roughly 1,750 jobs to North Carolina by 2030, with an additional 2,400 jobs by 2032.


Estimates from economists cited by Boom put the factory's boost to the state's economy at roughly $32.3 billion over the next 20 years.


"It is both poetic and logical that Boom Supersonic would choose the state that's first in flight for its first manufacturing plant," said North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, in a statement. "Like the success of the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk, this innovative company will succeed by transforming passenger air travel with speed and sustainable energy."


Boom already has around $14 billion in orders and options to buy from customers including United Airlines and Japan Airlines. The U.S. government is also working with Boom on some applications for its aircraft.


In all, the boost to the aviation industry and industrial manufacturing in the Southeast is undeniable, but there's an open question around the energy that powers Boom's operations. While the company's jets may run on sustainable aviation fuel, most of the energy the company's plants will need still comes from mainly natural gas, coal, and nuclear power.


To ensure a clean energy transition and that the U.S. can meet its goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, that power mix will have to shift heavily to renewables over the next few years. In neighboring Georgia, companies like Meta, Google, and others are paying to develop renewable energy projects to supply their power.


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