United Airlines has announced a commercial agreement with Denver-based aerospace company Boom Supersonic to add aircraft to its global fleet.
If realised, this could be a move that facilitates a leap forward in returning supersonic speeds to aviation.
Under the terms of the agreement, United will purchase 15 Overture airliners, once the aircraft meets demanding safety, operating and sustainability requirements.
There is also an option for an additional 35 aircraft.
The companies will work together on meeting those requirements before delivery.
Once operational, Overture is expected to be the first large commercial aircraft to be net-zero carbon from day one, optimised to run on 100 per cent sustainable aviation fuel.
It is slated to roll out in 2025, fly in 2026 and expected to carry passengers by 2029.
United and Boom will also work together to accelerate production of greater supplies of SAF.
“United continues on its trajectory to build a more innovative, sustainable airline and advancements in technology are making it more viable for that to include supersonic planes.
“Boom’s vision for the future of commercial aviation, combined with the industry’s most robust route network in the world, will give business and leisure travellers access to a stellar flight experience,” United chief executive, Scott Kirby, said.
“Our mission has always been about connecting people and now working with Boom, we’ll be able to do that on an even greater scale.”
Capable of flying at speeds of Mach 1.7 – twice the speed of today’s fastest airliners – Overture can connect more than 500 destinations in nearly half the time.
Among the many future potential routes for United are Newark to London in just three and a half hours, Newark to Frankfurt in four hours and San Francisco to Tokyo in just six hours.
Overture will also be designed with features such as in-seat entertainment screens, ample personal space, and contactless technology.
Working with Boom is another component of United’s strategy to invest in innovative technologies that will build a more sustainable future of air travel.