Japan Airlines has today said it will invest $10 million USD in Denver-based, Boom Supersonic to once again make supersonic commercial air travel a reality. The Japenese airline said it had entered into a strategic partnership to provide expertise and investment in the project.
The Boom Supersonic team hope to create a commercial airliner that can achieve a top speed of Mach 2.2 – that’s over twice the speed of sound. To put that in perspective, the maximum speed of Concorde was ‘just’ Mach 2.04. The last commercial supersonic flight operated by Concorde was back in 2003.
Japan Airlines will join a number of high profile investors who are pumping money into the project. If successful, the new jet would enter service at some point in the mid-2020’s and would carry between 45-55 passengers in an all Business Class configuration.
The airline said it would “cooperate closely” with Boom, lending its experience and aviation expertise to “refine the aircraft design and help define the passenger experience for supersonic travel.” As part of the deal, Japan Airlines has taken options to buy up to 20 Boom jets as part of a pre-order arrangement.
The news comes as Blake Scholl, the founder and CEO of Boom, revealed his company had been secretly working with Japan Airlines for over a year.
“JAL’s passionate, visionary team offers decades of practical knowledge and wisdom on everything from the passenger experience to technical operations. We’re thrilled to be working with JAL to develop a reliable, easily-maintained aircraft that will provide revolutionary speed to passenger,” explain Scholl.
“Our goal is to develop an airliner that will be a great addition to any international airline’s fleet.”
With the ability to cut journey times in half, Yoshiharu Ueki, JAL’s president said he wanted to advance commercial aviation.
“We hope to contribute to the future of supersonic travel with the intent of providing more `time` to our valued passengers while emphasizing flight safety,” commented Ueki.
It’s doubtful how far an investment of just $10 million will go on a project like this although JAL is at least contributing in other ways. Despite the successes of Concorde, a series of events including 9/11, rising oil prices and significant maintenance costs following the tragic loss of an Air France Concorde, the jets were permanently grounded.