Planes have been improving for decades, but their speed has remained more or less the same in that timeframe. While other forms of transportation have improved in various ways: cars going electric, trains in Asia shifting to magnetic levitation for higher speeds, and a myriad of other innovations, planes have changed a bit less. So why is that? Well, the best way to understand this is by looking at the one time we did fly faster. Back in the late 90’s and early 2000’s the infamous Concorde flew at almost twice the speed of sound, however, in October of 2003 it stopped flying. There were many reasons for this but the biggest one was that it wasn’t economical. To achieve such high speeds, lots of fuel was needed and the plane needed to stay light, meaning it could only take around 100 passengers. This low passenger capacity along with high operational costs lift tickets only affordable to a wealthy customer base. The only airlines who flew the plane (Air France and British Airways) did so as a symbol of national pride and power.
Near 20 years after the stopping of the Concorde, could we see a return of supersonic flight? Well, a new company called “Boom Supersonic” is working on a plane rivalling the speed of the Concorde. The name of the plane will be “The Overture”. The timeline is long, with the building set to begin in 2024, completion in 2025, the first test flight in 2026, and an ultimate entry into commercial service by 2029. So far, United Airlines has purchased 15 of the Overture supersonic planes, which fly at a top speed of Mach 1.7, or approximately 1,300 miles per hour. Translating to time saved, a flight from Seattle to Tokyo will only take four-and-a-half-hours instead of the typical eight-and-a-half-hours. What do you think about supersonic flight? And will Boom Supersonic succeed?
I am not a financial advisor and my comments should never be taken as financial advice. Investments come with risk, so always do your research and analysis beforehand.