Boom Supersonic has revealed a $100m investment in Overture, a 55 seater supersonic passenger jet capable of flying at at more than twice the speed of sound, with a range of 5,180 miles.
It could take passengers from London to New York in just 3.5 hours – around half the time it currently takes.
New investors in the Colorado-based company include the Emerson Collective, headed by Laurene Powell Jobs – widow of Apple’s former chief executive, Steve Jobs.
‘This new funding allows us to advance work on Overture, the world’s first economically viable supersonic airliner,’ said Blake Scholl, founder of Boom Supersonic.
‘Overture fares will be similar to today’s business class — widening horizons for tens of millions of travelers.
‘Ultimately, our goal is to make high-speed flight affordable to all.’
Boom says Overture will accommodate the use of next-generation alternative fuels and have a carbon footprint comparable to that of present-day business-class travel.
It hopes the new craft will make supersonic travel affordable.
‘With 55 seats and seat-mile costs similar to subsonic business class, supersonic flight is practical on hundreds of transoceanic routes—making it the new norm for anyone who flies business class,’ the firm said.
Boom is currently assembling XB-1, a ⅓-scale manned prototype of its Mach-2.2 airliner. XB-1 will be piloted by Chief Test Pilot Bill ‘Doc’ Shoemaker and is set to fly later this year
Top speed Mach 2.2 (1,451 mph, 2,335 km/h)
170 feet long, with a wingspan of 60 feet
2 pilots, up to 4 cabin crew
55 business class seats onboard
However, only two toilets
Future customers include the Virgin Group and Japan Airlines, which have pre-ordered a total of 30 jets between them.
The three-engine Boom aircraft have a sonic boom ‘at least 30 times quieter’ than Concorde.
At landing and takeoff, the company says: ‘Overture will be as quiet as the subsonic aircraft flying similar routes today.’
A fleet of 2,000 of the supersonic passenger planes could eventually link cities across the globe in the future.
Boom Supersonic are currently working on a prototype for a passenger plane that would break the sound barrier and could take passengers from London to New York in just 3.5 hours – around half the time it currently takes.
If its full-size 55-seat plane is approved, the first passengers could be travelling at supersonic speeds around the world by 2023, with fares for a one-way ticket just under £2,000.
Scholl has previously said he believes that as many as 2,000 Boom Supersonic planes could be used on 500 routes that crisscross the world linking hundreds of cities.
Speaking at the Farnborough Airshow, Mr Scholl told the Independent: ‘We are focused on accelerating long transoceanic trips.
‘We want to get the economy of the plane down so that anybody who flies can fly fast.
‘This is not a private jet for the ultra-wealthy.’
Sir Richard Branson has already backed Boom Supersonic, which expects a prototype of its passenger plane to make its first test flight by the end of this year.
The aircraft will have one business-class seat on either side of the aisle so each passenger gets both window and aisle access.
Boom has confirmed that Virgin Galactic and Japan Airlines will operate the aircraft, with Japan Airlines investing £7 million ($10 million) in Boom Supersonic in December 2017.
Together, they have pre-ordered a combined 30 Overture airliners.
As part of the deal Japan’s number two carrier has the option to purchase up to 20 Boom aircraft and will provide its knowledge and experience as an airline to hone the aircraft design and help refine the passenger experience.
Other U.S based start-ups incuding Aerion Supersonic, and Spike Aerospace are also aiming to re-start supersonic flights by the mid-2020s by modifying existing engines rather than spending billions of dollars to make new ones.
However, a study released last week claimed that reviving supersonic passenger flights will harm the environment, cause too much pollution and will be too noisy.
The US-based International Council on Clean Transportation said that modified engines will burn five to seven times more fuel per passenger than subsonic jets, exceeding global limits for new subsonic jets by 40 per cent for nitrogen oxide and 70 per cent for carbon dioxide.
Concorde, the last supersonic passenger jet, entered service in 1976 and continued flying for 27 years. It is one of only two supersonic transports to have been operated commercially.
It had a maximum speed of twice the speed of sound at Mach 2.04 (1,354 mph or 2,180 km per hour at cruise altitude) and could seat 92 to 128 passengers.
Concorde was jointly developed and manufactured by Aérospatiale and the British Aircraft Corporation (BAC) under an Anglo-French treaty.
Air France and British Airways each received seven aircraft.
Concorde was retired in 2003 due to a general downturn in the commercial aviation industry after the type’s only crash in 2000, the September 11 attacks in 2001, and a decision by Airbus, the successor to Aérospatiale and BAC, to discontinue maintenance support.