New supersonic jet could halve normal flying time

This week, Russia announced it was in the process of designing a new supersonic jet.

The new passenger aircraft's design will be based on that of a Russian military bombing aircraft currently on the production line.

It's been 15 years since the last supersonic airliner, the Concorde, touched down for the last time in London. The massive amount of fuel needed to travel at twice the speed meant the airplanes became financially unviable.

So just how fast is supersonic travel? 

Using the website, we have calculated flight times between various popular destinations when flying in a Concorde and comparing it to flight durations using the modern aircraft of today.

Concorde's most common route was between London and New York, and the supersonic jet cut the six-hour flight time to around two-and-a-half hours. 

If we were lucky enough to have a Concorde-like aircraft based in Auckland, it would cut flight time between Auckland and Sydney from three hours to just over one.

It would take less than half an hour between Auckland and Wellington, just five hours to Los Angeles and eight hours to London. At the moment, you can expect flights to London to take around 20 hours plus stopover time.

Of course it's not as simple as this. In order to fly such long distances, the aircraft would need a lot of fuel - and supersonic aircraft would become too heavy if they were to be carrying enough fuel to travel halfway around the world.

Boeing is also working on designing a 'hypersonic' aircraft, which would travel at a jaw-dropping five times the speed of sound.

This would cut the flight time between Auckland and London to a scarcely believable three hours and four minutes.