Supersonic is back!

One of the key travel trends identified in this year’s World Travel Market – Global Trends Report, compiled by Euromonitor International is the return of supersonic air travel.

Thirteen years after the demise of Concorde, a number of initiatives are underway to re-open the supersonic air travel market with cheaper fares on a wide selection of long haul routes.

NASA & BAE are reported to be working on supersonic airliner prototypes, however Colorado-based start up, Boom is developing a new generation of supersonic jets that will fly up to Mach 2.2, and Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic has already signed up to buy 10 of them.

Concorde was eventually dropped because she was expensive to run and difficult to fill with 100+ seats, especially after the Air France Concorde crash, so fares were high. Also, protests over her noise at take-off and sonic boom in flight, meant she was restricted from the outset to a single transatlantic route.

The Boom aircraft design is half the capacity of Concorde, seating just 50 passengers. The 3hour 24 minute flight from New York to London is expected to cost $5,000 return, and she is expected to meet “Stage IV” landing & takeoff noise specs in common with most new-generation airliners.

Blake Scholl, Founder and Chief Executive at Boom, says: “Supersonic can make a huge difference for business travellers. You can actually commute across the Atlantic: the first flight of the day NY-London arrives in London in time to make afternoon meetings. After seven hours in London, you can return home in the evening and be able to tuck your kids into bed. But this isn’t just for people with private jets – it’s for anyone who can fly business today, and soon for everyone who flies.”

Their prototype is expected to make its first subsonic flight in late 2017.

Potential Destinations for Supersonic Flights from the UK

Destination Current flight time from UK Potential supersonic flight time No of trips from the UK in 2015 (‘000)
UAE 7-8 hours 3 hours 1,662.5
Thailand 11-12 hours 5 hours 946.9
India 8-10 hours 4 hours 878.0
Canada 7-10 hours 3-4 hours 725.3
Australia 17-22 hours 7-9 hours 688.1
South Africa 11-12 hours 5 hours 407.5
Source: Euromonitor International

 

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