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United Airlines aims to make supersonic aviation sustainable with Boom deal

United Airlines has agreed to buy 15 supersonic aircraft from the startup company Boom in a bid to bring back the superfast jet-setting days of the Concorde.

This time though, the gas guzzling jet planes are getting a sustainable makeover.

The terms of the deal have United buying 15 of Boom’s ‘Overture’ supersonic airliners — once the plane can meet United’s safety, operating and sustainability requirements — with the option to buy another 35 planes.

Once they’re operational, the Overture is expected to be the first commercial aircraft to be net-zero carbon from its first day and will be optimized to run on 100% sustainable aviation fuel (like the fuel on offer from LanzaTech spinoff LanzaJet).

The first flights are slated to take off in 2026 and passengers will be able to get on board by 2029. The companies said that they’d be working together to accelerate greater supplies of sustainable aviation fuel.

“United continues on its trajectory to build a more innovative, sustainable airline and today’s advancements in technology are making it more viable for that to include supersonic planes. Boom’s vision for the future of commercial aviation, combined with the industry’s most robust route network in the world, will give business and leisure travelers access to a stellar flight experience,” United CEO Scott Kirby said.

As for the specs — Boom’s planes can reach Mach 1.7 (now THAT sucker’s quick), which is twice the speed of today’s fastest airlines and can connect over 500 destinations in nearly half the time, United said in a statement.

That means Newark to Frankfurt in four hours, Newark to London in three and a half hours, and San Francisco to Tokyo in six hours.

“The world’s first purchase agreement for net-zero carbon supersonic aircraft marks a significant step toward our mission to create a more accessible world,” said Blake Scholl, Boom Supersonic founder and CEO, in a statement. “United and Boom share a common purpose — to unite the world safely and sustainably. At speeds twice as fast, United passengers will experience all the advantages of life lived in person, from deeper, more productive business relationships to longer, more relaxing vacations to far-off destinations.”

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