American Airlines “Orders” Boom Supersonic Overture Jet

American Airlines “Orders” Boom Supersonic Overture Jet

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American Airlines has just announced an “order” for up to 60 supersonic jets. Whether or not this ever becomes a reality remains to be seen.

American orders up to 60 Boom Overture planes

American Airlines and Boom Supersonic have announced an agreement for the purchase of 20 Overture aircraft, with the option for an additional 40. It’s stated that American Airlines has put down a deposit for this order.

For those not familiar, Colorado-based Boom Technology is an aeronautics company that has been working on bringing back supersonic passenger air travel. Specifically, the Boom Overture is supposed to become the new Concorde, cutting travel time in some long haul markets (like London to New York) by roughly half. Here are some of the basic specs:

  • The Overture would fly at Mach 1.7
  • The Overture would have a range of 4,250 nautical miles
  • The Overture would feature four engines
  • The Overture would carry 65-80 passengers in an all-business class configuration
  • The final production design of the jet could roll out in 2025, and the plane could enter passenger service in 2029
Boom Overture rendering

Here’s what Derek Kerr, American’s Chief Financial Officer, had to say about this agreement:

“Looking to the future, supersonic travel will be an important part of our ability to deliver for our customers. We are excited about how Boom will shape the future of travel both for our company and our customers.”

The Boom Overture will be all-business class

My take on American’s supersonic jet order

For context, American is the second major US airline to place an “order” for this jet, as United Airlines did the same in mid-2021. I keep putting “order” in quotes because this jet is far from becoming a reality, so for the time being I largely view this as mutually beneficial PR:

  • Boom Technology gets the support of the world’s biggest airline, which adds credibility to what the company is working on
  • American Airlines looks like a cutting edge company that’s investing in the future of air travel, as it sounds spiffy to have supersonic jets on order (though am I the only one surprised by how little publicity there is around this — there’s not even a Boom Overture jet in American Airlines’ livery?!)

While it’s stated that American has made a deposit on these planes, my guess is that the airline could easily back out of this order, since presumably this is conditional upon certain performance specs that are far from a sure thing at this point.

Boom has raised a lot of money from investors, so a lot of people have faith in the concept. I don’t want to be a wet blanket, because admittedly over time we see huge advancements in technology, and it’s always easy to be skeptical.

At the same time, I just have a hard time seeing this become a reality. I just don’t think this reflects the direction the industry is headed, and it seems like there are lots of hurdles to overcome. For that matter, Boom still hasn’t announced plans for engines that would be capable of powering this plane. I’d love to see the Boom Overture fly one day, so I hope to be proven wrong.

United Airlines has also ordered the Boom Overture

Bottom line

American Airlines has placed an “order” for up to 60 supersonic jets. The Boom Overture is expected to enter service in 2029 at the very earliest, and that’s if it even becomes a reality (which is a big “if”). As cool as this concept is, and as much as I hope it happens, I think odds are stacked against this plane. I’d be very surprised if we ever see this new version of the Concorde flying.

What do you make of American Airlines’ supersonic jet order?

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  1. Simon Guest

    I am jumping on the negative bandwagon as well. If the A380 isn't wanted due to lack of fuel efficiency, then this Concorde 2.0 is going to be even less wanted with its huge fuel burn/CO2 emissions. American is getting their name on it now just because it looks cool. From the engineering standpoint, how are they addressing the wing vulnerability that brought down the Air France flight?

  2. Eskimo Guest

    Capabilities inferior to Concorde, which is already a 50 year old technology.

    "The final production design of the jet could roll out in 2025, and the plane could enter passenger service in 2029"

    They forgot to add, By 2036 the jet would all be grounded.

  3. Emily Guest

    Really wish that Boom is successful, just as a slap in the face of all the negative nellies here.

    As far as engines are concerned, there are many alternatives available for the airline, especially from P&W who have a large array of turbojets. Of course, most of the engines will require upscaling to be suitable for an aircraft of this size. I am more interested in the type of fuel which Boom will utilize - a bioderived fuel or will it be conventional or JP7.

    1. KlimaBXsst Guest

      One thing overlooked during Concordes reign is OneWorld and the Star Alliance, both whom seem to be taking the Supersonic lead, were pretty much in their marketing infancy.

      Alliances could boost the success and acceptance of the Overture once it is in production and delivered.

      However, much like Concorde, Boom will always be subject to the manipulations of oil flow from various geographical sectors both political, and international.

      Technology is not the...

      One thing overlooked during Concordes reign is OneWorld and the Star Alliance, both whom seem to be taking the Supersonic lead, were pretty much in their marketing infancy.

      Alliances could boost the success and acceptance of the Overture once it is in production and delivered.

      However, much like Concorde, Boom will always be subject to the manipulations of oil flow from various geographical sectors both political, and international.

      Technology is not the limiting factor of man. Power, greed, and control is the limiting factor and this will likely not be overcome even if the Overture does reach the market.

    2. Eskimo Guest

      Can you expand on how alliance or their marketing can boost success?
      Can you expand on how manipulation of oll will affect Boom but not other airliners.

      Concorde didn't die from politics or marketing. It died on dropping airfare and sound restrictions.

  4. Jordan Gold

    This is not the future, its the past.

    People cannot see the truth. Sad.

  5. Leigh Guest

    Lots of comments from the armchairs, which is reasonable for such an advanced new aircraft. So I’ll add mine.

    - if entry into service is 2029 (likely later), then it’s viable.

    - my only surprise is how many aircraft AA has ordered at 20 with a non refundable deposit, let alone the referenced total order for 60. How can there be that many routes across the ocean that could fit this aircraft/airfares? Only JFK and...

    Lots of comments from the armchairs, which is reasonable for such an advanced new aircraft. So I’ll add mine.

    - if entry into service is 2029 (likely later), then it’s viable.

    - my only surprise is how many aircraft AA has ordered at 20 with a non refundable deposit, let alone the referenced total order for 60. How can there be that many routes across the ocean that could fit this aircraft/airfares? Only JFK and MIA are viable gateways given sound restrictions, with LAX being downgraded during the pandemic (and SEA can’t support those ultra high airfares in consistent volume)

    - “non refundable” deposits become refundable if the aircraft is never produced (though if that happens, Boom would already be bankrupt and wouldn’t have the money to return),

    - engines are indeed the BIG mystery. I have no clue about this issue.

    - to overcome the “eco” warrior (legitimate) issues, I would think that Boom must be examining the new alternative green fuels to operate the aircraft alongside with whomever might be their engine manufacturing partner…though another huge wonder if eco fuel can take an aircraft to supersonic speeds…though again, I’m no engineer and don’t have a clue.

    - FINALLY, if Boom successfully does the heavy lifting to make the aircraft feasible, both Boeing and Airbus will be frothing at their mouths to buy the company…that’s inevitable…if Boom can make a viable design.

  6. D. Gremillon Guest

    Is it electric?

  7. Jlee Guest

    Will we see some electric engines ?

  8. dander Guest

    Lets not forget the US military is interested in this also. They spend our money very recklessly so I think the military will get what they want thus the airlines will get that they want.

  9. DenB Diamond

    The main problem with this product will be political. I can easily imagine First-World governments banning the plane to greenwash their environmental creds. This thing will become a darling of the enviro press, which will publish breathless stats about fuel copnsumption, luxury, ticket prices and CO2 emissions. Governments will have no choice under this pressure. So it's ine and I'd fly it in a heartbeat, but it probably won't be allowed to land in UK,...

    The main problem with this product will be political. I can easily imagine First-World governments banning the plane to greenwash their environmental creds. This thing will become a darling of the enviro press, which will publish breathless stats about fuel copnsumption, luxury, ticket prices and CO2 emissions. Governments will have no choice under this pressure. So it's ine and I'd fly it in a heartbeat, but it probably won't be allowed to land in UK, France, Canada, Denmark...

  10. Josh Guest

    American might want to look at it's balance sheets first before buying fairy tail aircraft! The airline is OVER $35,000,000,000.00 in debt as of this moment. Why in the world do they think 4 engine planes are going to make a comeback? SMH

    1. Regis Guest

      AA is an insolvent business concern with liabilities far exceeding its assets. It only continues to operate because of the goodwill and the kindness ot its creditors.

  11. alcw Guest

    Financial and environmental concerns aside, can someone make a comment on the engineering logistical hurdles preventing an engine from being developed...I remember watching the Concorde take off from Dulles...I'm sure things have advanced a great deal in materials since those days.

  12. Jayceegee New Member

    If any of you are curious as to why a lot of people have concerns about Boom's viability, I suggest you read this cogent and well-reasoned summary: https://paxex.aero/boom-supersonic-overture-final-revised-design/

  13. Andy Diamond

    I think one additional constraint to this market will be CO2 emissions. It's pure physics that they will be higher than for conventional business class travel, unless it is using a higher percentage (100%) of sustainable fuel. Corporates are increasingly restricting business class travel on the ground of CO2 emissions and even those who still permit it, will be hesitant to allow supersonic business class travel.

  14. D3kingg Guest

    How about a zoom instead of a boom ?
    Factoring in inflation the price point for a RT fare would be $9,999 and up. Is there that much demand for jfk lhr ? American should modify their order to 5-10 planes.
    They can fill the empty seats with non revs for $1,000.

  15. Erik K. Weseman Guest

    American Airlines could use the Overture on routes such as JFK-LHR, MIA-LHR and LAX-HNL. Should Boom Supersonic develop an extended-range version of the Overture or Overture-ER to allow the plane to fly transpacific routes, AA could also fly supersonic on LAX-HND and SEA-PVG

  16. Nate nate Guest

    This is a great solution to LHR's congestion problems.

    Considering how long it look BA to fix the 787, unlikely that this will fly anytime soon, and even then I don't see US carriers being the first movers.

    May make sense for Cathay if HK remains closed to tourists.

  17. Steve Diamond

    This plane doesnt even have the one thing needed to actually fly an engine. Lol at everyone getting mad at Ben and other commenters for doubting this. They had designed a plane before even looking at what is possible and feasible from an engine maker which they dont even have. This thing wont even test fly till 2035 and who knows what air travel is going to look like then.

  18. DMJ Guest

    The article seems a little pessimistic, especially the "quotes" around orders, which are no different to any other early placement for a new type.
    Boom has moved steadily forward over these last few years, and now they are showing a near-frozen design, airlines are beginning to bite.
    Key is economics and eco-achievability, both items that Concorde never really resolved, but which are primary targets for Boom.
    As designed, Boom is quite a...

    The article seems a little pessimistic, especially the "quotes" around orders, which are no different to any other early placement for a new type.
    Boom has moved steadily forward over these last few years, and now they are showing a near-frozen design, airlines are beginning to bite.
    Key is economics and eco-achievability, both items that Concorde never really resolved, but which are primary targets for Boom.
    As designed, Boom is quite a bit slower than Concorde, which should make it cheaper to fly. But it should cruise at near-sonic speeds over land, which means no supersonic noise carpet. And engines should be state of the art, burning SAF (Sustainable Aviation Fuel).

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      “which are no different to any other early placement for a new type”

      Except that this company has delivered zero planes of *any* type.

    2. hc Guest

      "Boom has moved steadily forward over these last few years, and now they are showing a near-frozen design"

      They changed the plane's design last month after publicly working towards a totally different design since 2016.

      It was not small changes, either.

      Notable changes included:
      its not a quadjet not trijet
      it will carry less passengers than anticipated
      it will only go march 1.7 instead of mach 2.1
      totally new wing...

      "Boom has moved steadily forward over these last few years, and now they are showing a near-frozen design"

      They changed the plane's design last month after publicly working towards a totally different design since 2016.

      It was not small changes, either.

      Notable changes included:
      its not a quadjet not trijet
      it will carry less passengers than anticipated
      it will only go march 1.7 instead of mach 2.1
      totally new wing profile
      totally new nose
      seemingly much smaller windows
      different shape tail
      new landing gear
      added weight
      significantly reduced range

      their plans seem anything but frozen and consistent

    1. Jayceegee New Member

      Not to mention broadly scared of the future... to the extent said future includes fast planes, black people, and more than 2 pronouns.

      I pity them.

  19. Never In Doubt Guest

    I’m a lot more confident they can create a plane*, than I am they can create a plane with economics that work in the marketplace.

    *Concorde worked 45 years ago, but never made money.

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      Nope, never made money.

      It was kept alive by British & French government subsidies.

    2. stazia Guest

      it was never built to make money... it was built to make a statement... it was a very successful project... also Concorde was significantly faster and more powerful than overture.... boom isn't trying to one up Concorde.... boom's objective is efficiently.... the two aircraft have 2 completely different objectives

  20. Dick Bupkiss Guest

    "The final production design of the jet could roll out in 2025, and the plane could enter passenger service in 2029"

    Yeah, sure. And monkeys could fly out of my arsehole. At mach 1.7. Just as likely as this happening.

  21. GBOAC Diamond

    My immediate reaction is how similar Overture appears to Concorde -- same number of engines, same range, same passenger load. That makes it hard for me to see what's different and therefore what will make Overture succeed.

    1. Dick Bupkiss Guest

      Concorde actually flew.

    2. Brian Gasser Guest

      Fuel burn and reliability will be the differentiator between loss and profit.

    3. GBOAC Diamond

      @Brian:
      That's exactly the point -- what are the differentiators and why aren't they publicizing them. Their absence makes me skeptical.

    4. KlimaBXsst Guest

      The long range Business Jet replaced Concorde years ago.

      Overture will be for the accomplished, urbanites, or professional masses. Not necessarily a bad thing, but rather different than the long time clientele of Concorde.

      Provided of course BOOM can make the numbers work so it is not a money loser for the airlines. Could this be the final maturation of the supersonic aspirations one way or another or are hypersonic where aspirations really should be!

  22. Sean Guest

    It seems like there would be a lot of demand if this comes to reality and the fares aren’t ridiculous. A lot of people would rather get somewhere quickly rather than spend tons more time on a plane. There’s a lot of people that value their time and want to minimize time on planes even if they could fly on something luxurious such as Emirates first class.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Sean -- I think the key point there is about fares not being ridiculous. For this to work with so few seats, airlines are going to need to charge at least as much as (non-discounted) business class, if not more.

      Admittedly there's probably a fair bit of demand for that between markets like New York to London during the best of times, but if there's any sort of economic downturn, these planes would have...

      @ Sean -- I think the key point there is about fares not being ridiculous. For this to work with so few seats, airlines are going to need to charge at least as much as (non-discounted) business class, if not more.

      Admittedly there's probably a fair bit of demand for that between markets like New York to London during the best of times, but if there's any sort of economic downturn, these planes would have to be grounded.

      The other reason I think this concept isn't as needed as in the past is because of how much business class has improved. Nowadays we have flat bed business class with direct aisle access and Wi-Fi. Many people can rest or work almost as well on planes as on the ground, which eliminates some of the benefit of a jet flying faster (especially if seats wouldn't be as spacious, which is definitely what's happening here -- Boom Overture seats would be more like domestic first class seats).

    2. LEo Diamond

      As well as with the pandemic forcing WFH, many corporates have realized that most of their employee's business trips aren't that of significant importance anymore, with most of them can be solved through software like Zoom, business travel will certainly decrease in the next few years.

    3. Evan Guest

      Sean...your sentence says the big "if"...if fares aren't ridiculous. It will be interesting to see how this aircraft will be fueled, as that is the 2nd biggest expense after labor. You're essentially spreading an intercontinental flight's worth of fuel over 65 - 80 business class passengers vs. the 200 - 300 on a normal aircraft. That alone is going to require ridiculously high fares unless they have a magic bullet to combat fuel consumption.

    4. Donna Diamond

      Fares were ridiculous for Concorde and for what? To save three or four hours of flight time? I saw a Concorde parked at a gate in Dulles back in the late ‘80s and the biggest thing that stood out was how small the plane was. One has to wonder how comfortable it would be cramming that many seats onboard a small plane. I travel TATL several times a year and my actual time in air...

      Fares were ridiculous for Concorde and for what? To save three or four hours of flight time? I saw a Concorde parked at a gate in Dulles back in the late ‘80s and the biggest thing that stood out was how small the plane was. One has to wonder how comfortable it would be cramming that many seats onboard a small plane. I travel TATL several times a year and my actual time in air from California is around 14 hours, requiring a connection. The flight to the EU is around 8 to 9 hours. So, in order to save about 4 hours of flight time, I’d be spending a huge premium and probably traveling in a crowded cabin. I’ll gladly save my money and continue flying A350s and 787s with a comfy bed and space. Hard to believe there would be a market for this.

  23. Justin Guest

    What effort have you made to support your conclusion or is this just a general feeling based on mostly nothing? Have you asked to interview somebody at Boom?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Justin -- I've seen countless interviews with Boom executives, and I'm not sure I have anything else to ask? For that matter, asking a person trying to sell their own product about something like this doesn't really give you a balanced look at the odds of this becoming a reality.

      I'm not saying this won't work, and quite to the contrary, I hope it does work. All I'm saying is that I'm not convinced...

      @ Justin -- I've seen countless interviews with Boom executives, and I'm not sure I have anything else to ask? For that matter, asking a person trying to sell their own product about something like this doesn't really give you a balanced look at the odds of this becoming a reality.

      I'm not saying this won't work, and quite to the contrary, I hope it does work. All I'm saying is that I'm not convinced this will become a reality.

      A few concerns:
      -- What are the engine plans for the Boom Overture concept? They still haven't been announced
      -- With an increasing focus on environmentalism in the industry, will this plane be ecologically unjustifiable, even as we move to more sustainable concepts?
      -- Look at the issues there have been with planes like the 737 MAX and 787 getting certified by the FAA... I feel like it would take a very long time for a concept like this to gain FAA approval

      Anyway, just a few initial thoughts...

    2. Justin Guest

      … And that’s what I’m saying. Ask those questions to somebody who might be able to answer them — especially if you feel like the information available from other available sources is not satisfactory or complete.

  24. Uri Guest

    I really wish they didn't call it "Boom" :/

    1. FlyerDon Guest

      With just 65 seats I’m guessing this plane will actually be flown by one of their regional carriers. I’m guessing Republic.

  25. LEo Diamond

    Will Baltia Air Lines also order this plane as well? and fly between JFK-LED?

    1. Steve Diamond

      Surely Baltia is going to be the launch customer!

    2. RF Guest

      Lol, they are typing up the press release.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Ben Schlappig OMAAT

@ Justin -- I've seen countless interviews with Boom executives, and I'm not sure I have anything else to ask? For that matter, asking a person trying to sell their own product about something like this doesn't really give you a balanced look at the odds of this becoming a reality. I'm not saying this won't work, and quite to the contrary, I hope it does work. All I'm saying is that I'm not convinced this will become a reality. A few concerns: -- What are the engine plans for the Boom Overture concept? They still haven't been announced -- With an increasing focus on environmentalism in the industry, will this plane be ecologically unjustifiable, even as we move to more sustainable concepts? -- Look at the issues there have been with planes like the 737 MAX and 787 getting certified by the FAA... I feel like it would take a very long time for a concept like this to gain FAA approval Anyway, just a few initial thoughts...

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Ben Schlappig OMAAT

@ Sean -- I think the key point there is about fares not being ridiculous. For this to work with so few seats, airlines are going to need to charge at least as much as (non-discounted) business class, if not more. Admittedly there's probably a fair bit of demand for that between markets like New York to London during the best of times, but if there's any sort of economic downturn, these planes would have to be grounded. The other reason I think this concept isn't as needed as in the past is because of how much business class has improved. Nowadays we have flat bed business class with direct aisle access and Wi-Fi. Many people can rest or work almost as well on planes as on the ground, which eliminates some of the benefit of a jet flying faster (especially if seats wouldn't be as spacious, which is definitely what's happening here -- Boom Overture seats would be more like domestic first class seats).

3
Santos Guest

you sound well-adjusted

2
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