Boom Supersonic plans to fly passengers 'anywhere in the world in four hours for US$100'

"Either we fail, or we change the world," says the company's CEO.
"Either we fail, or we change the world," says the company's CEO. Photo credit: Boom Supersonic

Aviation start-up Boom Supersonic has doubled down on its plans to bring supersonic air travel back to our skies, saying it hopes to one day fly passengers "anywhere in the world in four hours for US$100".

Speaking to CNN, the company's  CEO Blake Scholl said there were only two possible outcomes for his company.

"Either we fail or we change the world," he said.

Scholl said "anywhere in the world in four hours for 100 bucks" was the company's ultimate goal, but wouldn't be immediate. Its first aircraft named Overture would travel at a speed of around Mach 2.2, which is more than twice the speed of current commercial aircraft.

At that speed the aircraft would take a little more than eight hours to fly from Auckland to Los Angeles, or three hours and 15 minutes to fly from New York to London.

An optimistic Scholl said breaking down the barrier of travel time would be world-changing.

"It changes where we can vacation, changes where we can do business," he said.

Scholl also said the aim is to break the barrier of environmental and economic stability, making supersonic flight affordable.

He is aiming for airfares to begin at around the same level as current business class fares, compared to Concorde's prices which cost around US$20,000 per ticket in today's money for a return trip between New York and London.

While determined and ambitious, some experts say Boom Supersonic faces some massive challenges, not least of all physics.

"It's an audacious goal!" professor Sean O'Keefe, an aviation expert at Syracuse University and former chairman of Airbus, told CNN.

"Sometimes that's what it takes: to get somebody who really believes in their capacity to do something like this, to actually make it come to be.

"Beyond just accomplishing the speed, it generates a ferocious amount of heat. Any conventional engine that you put together would melt.

"It's going to require two or three generations of technology, development and breakthrough - which equates to about 20 years."

Boom Supersonic said it has US$6 billion in pre-orders for their aircraft, which sounds impressive; but in context is much less than the current US$280 billion in outstanding orders held by Boeing.