Supersonic passenger planes could return to the skies before the end of this decade. Supersonic means faster than the speed of sound. The speed of sound is Mach 1, which is 1,234.8kph. The US carrier United Airlines has plans to buy 15 supersonic jets from a company called Boom Supersonic. The planes will fly up to 88 passengers in an all-business class service. They will fly at a top speed of Mach 1.7. This is 2,099kph. Most modern passenger jets have a cruising speed of just over 1,000kph. The new planes could greatly cut the time it takes to fly around the world. Passengers could fly from London to New York in under four hours. It currently takes around 7 1/2 hours to do that journey.
The jets ordered by United Airlines are called Overture. They will be the first supersonic jets to make commercial flights since Concorde stopped operating in 2003. Concorde was jointly operated by British Airways and Air France. The cost of Overture tickets will be roughly the same as regular business class tickets. The price of a Concorde ticket was over 20 times higher than economy class tickets, which meant only the super-rich could afford one. Boom's CEO said Overture will have much better fuel efficiency and profitability than Concorde. Flights will be net-zero carbon and will use sustainable aviation fuel. The cost of each Overture airplane is approximately $200 million. Boom already has around $6 billion in orders.