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American Airlines commits to buy 20 supersonic Overture jets

American Airlines agreed on Tuesday to buy up to 20 Overture jets from aircraft maker Boom Supersonic, saying they will nearly halve the time spent on long-haul water flights.

The Overture, which is still under development, is expected to reach speeds of Mach 1.7 or about 1300 mph, double the speed of current commercial jets and make the trip between Miami and London in five hours, up from nearly nine hours. .

American Airlines, which also has an option to purchase 40 additional Overture jets, has made an unspecified non-refundable deposit on the first 20 aircraft, each of which will carry approximately 65 to 80 passengers when they debut in 2029.

Neither the company nor the aircraft manufacturer would provide financial details of the deal, including the size of American’s down payment.

American will become Boom’s second U.S. customer after a similar announcement last year from United Airlines, which committed to buy at least 15 of the aircraft.

Still in development, the Overture is expected to reach speeds of Mach 1.7 or about 1,300 mph, roughly double the top speed of the fastest current commercial jets on the market, including the Boeing 747.

Still in development, the Overture is expected to reach speeds of Mach 1.7 or about 1,300 mph, roughly double the top speed of the fastest current commercial jets on the market, including the Boeing 747.

American Airlines agreed Tuesday to buy up to 20 Overture jets (above) from aircraft maker Boom Supersonic, pledging to cut the time of long-haul flights over water nearly in half.

American Airlines agreed Tuesday to buy up to 20 Overture jets (above) from aircraft maker Boom Supersonic, pledging to cut the time of long-haul flights over water nearly in half.

American Airlines agreed Tuesday to buy up to 20 Overture jets (above) from aircraft maker Boom Supersonic, pledging to cut the time of long-haul flights over water nearly in half.

It’s been nearly 20 years since the last supersonic passenger flight of the Concorde, the Anglo-French plane that failed due to the high cost of flights, costing about $12,000 for a round trip from New York to London.

Boom CEO Blake Scholl insists his company’s plane will be different, with tickets costing about $4,000 to $5,000 to fly from New York to London in about three and a half hours.

“Every year, tens of millions of passengers fly in business class on routes where Overture will give a big acceleration,” Scholl told Reuters, “and airlines will be able to do this profitably.”

US spokesman Matt Miller said it was too early to discuss ticket prices, as the plane is not expected to carry its first passengers until 2029.

Boom says the Overture program will cost between $6 billion and $8 billion. The plane has a list price of $200 million, although other manufacturers regularly give big discounts to airlines, and American has not disclosed what it plans to pay.

Skeptics have questioned Boom’s ambitious timetable, especially in light of the many years it took Boeing, an established manufacturer, to get planes or even aircraft retrofits approved by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Boom also doesn’t have a motorcycle manufacturer in line yet. It is in talks with Rolls Royce and others.

An American Airlines Airbus A321-200 plane takes off from Los Angeles International Airport in a file photo

An American Airlines Airbus A321-200 plane takes off from Los Angeles International Airport in a file photo

An American Airlines Airbus A321-200 plane takes off from Los Angeles International Airport in a file photo

Still in development, the Overture is expected to reach speeds of Mach 1.7 or about 1,300 mph, roughly double the top speed of the fastest current commercial jets on the market, including the Boeing 747.

Still in development, the Overture is expected to reach speeds of Mach 1.7 or about 1,300 mph, roughly double the top speed of the fastest current commercial jets on the market, including the Boeing 747.

Still in development, the Overture is expected to reach speeds of Mach 1.7 or about 1,300 mph, roughly double the top speed of the fastest current commercial jets on the market, including the Boeing 747.

The Overture is powered by four powerful wing-mounted engines that allow the aircraft to cruise over water at Mach 1.7 (1,300 mph) and just below Mach 1 (770 mph) over land

The Overture is powered by four powerful wing-mounted engines that allow the aircraft to cruise over water at Mach 1.7 (1,300 mph) and just below Mach 1 (770 mph) over land

The Overture is powered by four powerful wing-mounted engines that allow the aircraft to cruise over water at Mach 1.7 (1,300 mph) and just below Mach 1 (770 mph) over land

Boom’s four-engine Overture jet can fly people from Miami to London in just under five hours, the company said, cutting the nearly nine-hour flight time between the cities by nearly half.

The route from Los Angeles to Honolulu is expected to take just three hours, compared to nearly six hours on conventional planes.

The era of regular commercial supersonic flights seemed to have ended in 2003 when Concorde, flown by Air France and British Airways, retired after 27 years of service.

But last year, United Airlines Holdings Inc agreed to buy 15 Boom Overture aircraft, provided they meet certain safety, operational and durability requirements. A similar condition is also part of American Airlines’ agreement on Tuesday.

Supersonic jets have been criticized by environmentalists for burning more fuel per passenger than comparable subsonic aircraft.

The Overture jet, designed to run 100 percent on sustainable jet fuel or a blend, will roll out of the Boom plant in Greensboro, North Carolina in 2025, followed by flight tests in 2026.

Boom says Overture, which can fly at 60,000 feet and carry between 65 and 80 passengers, will use 'the world's first automated noise cancellation system'

Boom says Overture, which can fly at 60,000 feet and carry between 65 and 80 passengers, will use 'the world's first automated noise cancellation system'

Boom says Overture, which can fly at 60,000 feet and carry between 65 and 80 passengers, will use ‘the world’s first automated noise cancellation system’

CEO and Boom founder Blake Scholl describes Overture as 'kinda like Concorde and a 747 had a baby'

CEO and Boom founder Blake Scholl describes Overture as 'kinda like Concorde and a 747 had a baby'

CEO and Boom founder Blake Scholl describes Overture as ‘kinda like Concorde and a 747 had a baby’

Overture is rolling out in 2025, flying in 2026 and expected to carry passengers by 2029

Overture is rolling out in 2025, flying in 2026 and expected to carry passengers by 2029

Overture is rolling out in 2025, flying in 2026 and expected to carry passengers by 2029

The Allied Pilots Association (APA), which represents American Airlines pilots, criticized the deal, saying the airline should instead focus on reducing cancellations and delays that have affected its operations this year.

“If nothing changes to the planning of the management of this airline and its pilots, there will be only supersonic cancellations,” said APA spokesman Dennis Tajer.

American has struggled this summer, canceling more than 9,300 flights since June 1 — more than double the cancellations at United, Delta or Southwest — according to FlightAware.

“Investing in today’s business should be the sole focus of management,” Tajer says.

Last month, Boom announced changes to the aircraft’s design to make it easier and cheaper to build and maintain.

The most notable change was the move from three engines, including a different type on the tail, to four identical engines under the delta-shaped wings.

The new design was unveiled at the Farnborough International Airshow, with Boom describing Overture as an “economically and environmentally sustainable supersonic passenger aircraft.”

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