American Airlines buys supersonic jets that cut the travel time from London to NYC in half

American Airlines has ordered 20 jets from Boom Supersonic (Image: AP)

A major airline is investing heavily in high-speed, intercontinental travel.

American Airlines finalized a deal with Boom Supersonic to buy 20 commercial supersonic jets on Tuesday.

Last year, Boom sold 15 jets to United Airlines. It also received a $10 million investment from Japan Airlines.

However, the Denver, Colorado-based company has yet to produce a working jet. Boom’s premier plane, the Overture, exists only on the drawing board.

The Overture is a four-engine commercial jet that carries between 65 and 88 passengers and is expected to fly around 1,300 miles per hour, or 1.7 times the speed of sound.

Tickets on an Overture flight are expected to be priced at $4,000 to $5,000 for a 3.5-hour flight from New York to London.

It currently takes a standard aircraft an average of almost seven hours to fly the same route.

American Airlines also plans to use the supersonic jets on other overseas trips, including a three-hour trip from Los Angeles to Honolulu and a five-hour trip from Miami to London, the company said.

The jets are also said to have a net zero carbon footprint, using only sustainable jet fuel produced from plant material.

“As we look to the future, supersonic travel will be an important part of our ability to deliver for our customers,” said American Airlines Chief Financial Officer Derek Kerr.

However, critics point out that Boom hasn’t even designed or manufactured an engine for the Overture yet. The company is currently in talks with Rolls Royce to supply the engines, reports said.

Others point to the high price of sustainable jet fuel, which currently sells for about $8.67 per gallon — more than double the price of jet fuel per gallon, a report found.

Still other critics say Boom’s production schedule is too ambitious — even though the jets American Airlines ordered won’t be ready to fly passengers until 2029.

Boom is not the first company to market supersonic jets for commercial use. For decades, Air France and British Airways flew the Concorde, a supersonic jet capable of flying across the Atlantic Ocean at comparable speeds.

Concorde was first designed in the 1970s and flew its first commercial journey in 1976. A total of seven jets flew commercial routes between Paris Charles de Gaulle, London Heathrow, Washington Dulles and New York’s JFK.

Concorde was retired in 2003. Despite its speed, high prices for consumers meant that the jets never caught on with the general public.

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