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Japan Airlines Invests Millions in Supersonic Plane Startup


 

Not to long ago billionaire Richard Branson and Denver startup Boom unveiled the prototype for a supersonic passenger plane; hoping to one day build an airliner which would cruise at 1450 mph whilst accommodating 45-55 passengers.

Japan Airlines (JAL) has recently invested $10 million in Boom Technologies, marking a significant enforcement from a respected international airline. As part of the investment in Boom, JAL will have the opportunity to purchase up to 20 of the supersonic plane. JAL is now the second company to publicly announce their intention to purchase Boom’s supersonic jet; after Branson’s Virgin Atlantic.

“Through this partnership, we hope to contribute to the future of supersonic travel with the intent of providing more ‘time’ to our valued passengers while emphasizing flight safety,” president of Japan Airlines, Yoshiharu Ueki, said in a statement.

It’s been nearly 15 years now since the Concorde was retired, and since then people within the public haven’t been able to buy a ticket to fly supersonic  The Concorde jet traveled at twice the speed of sound; crossing the Atlantic in just three and a half hours. The plane flew regularly between Europe and New York for nearly three decades before it was withdrawn from service because of high costs.

Blake Scholl, Boom’s founder and CEO, has said they have been working with JAL since last year. Scholl has said airlines can benefit from an early investment/involvement in which suggestions can be given in the design process, so that airlines can provide a ‘wish list’ for features they think are necessary for passengers, pilots, flight attendants and maintenance crews.

“This is about signaling to the broader ecosystem that this is something that there’s real airline customer interest in. The money is largely symbolic, but it’s an important symbol. JAL doesn’t put $10 million around without thinking really hard about it,” Scholl told CNN.

According to School, Boom has now raised a total of $51 million, and has suggested more funds are very much within reach.

Boom has said their company has raised more than enough money to get themselves through development, and test flight, of a small two-seat aircraft. The aircraft, named the XB-1, is designed to be 10% faster than the Concorde, and while smaller is said to be a representative model for what Boom hopes is the future of supersonic flying. The XB-1 will be equipped engines from General Electric and Honeywell avionics.

Boom has said it currently has interest from five airlines in buying a total of 76 of its supersonic airliners should they succeed in bringing the plane to market. Boom’s project will need all the interest it can get as they are likely to require the investment of billions to develop, build, test and mass produce a full scale supersonic plane.

At twice the speed of sound, a flight between San Francisco and Tokyo would take around five and a half hours, and would take just about three hours between New York and London.

Boom and Virgin have said tickets for the New York-London round trip will be about $5,000. The companies have yet to announce a target date for the first commercial flight, but looks to be aiming for an entry into service by mid-2020s

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