Supersonic flight across US could be legal by next year, says Boom CEO

  • The law against supersonic travel over the U.S. is currently up for re-negotiation
  • Boom Supersonic wants to introduce a 55-seat plane by 2023
  • The plane would be the first commercial plane to break the sound barrier since Concorde

Concorde-style supersonic flight could be legal across the United States as early as next year.

Boom Supersonic is developing a 55-seat plane which it claims will be able to more than halve the flight time from San Francisco to Washington DC to just two-and-a-half hours. The company is aiming for commercial entry by 2023.

One stumbling block to trans-American routes is federal sonic boom regulation which has prevented supersonic travel over U.S. skies since 1973.

Speaking at the Dubai Airshow Monday, Boom Chief Executive Blake Scholl said that could soon change as laws set out by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are currently up for renegotiation.

Source: Boom Supersonic

"Both the House and Senate versions of the FAA re-authorization bill have very positive language on supersonics. The senate bill in particular would repeal the speed limit," Scholl added.

Scholl said the bill would definitely address the issue of sonic booms overland but predicting the timeline was tricky.

"When will that happen? Probably early next year," he said. "That is the current timeline, but it's Congress, right?"

Scholl claimed the impact of a sonic boom on people on the ground had been greatly exaggerated and that stories of broken windows were not based on reality.

The chief executive also revealed that the main production site for the new plane would be based in the United States, although a satellite facility may also be needed elsewhere.

Scholl said Boom is aiming for entry into the market by 2023 and is looking for a site big enough to produce 100 planes a year.

So far there has been 76 pre-orders including 10 options to buy from Virgin Atlantic.

The aircraft in the spotlight at the 2017 Dubai Airshow

CNBC previews some of the new and existing aircraft on display at the biannual trade fair.

Boom has claimed the average length of flight from Paris to New York would drop to three-and-a half-hours from seven hours when the full airliner flies. This would utilize its full Mach 2.2 speed.

The plane comes with two configurations of either 55 business class seats, or 15 business with 30 first-class seats on longer flights. The plane would have a list price to customers of $200 million.

A business class ticket from London to New York is estimated by the company at $5,000.

GE, Honeywell, Tencate and Stratasys are among the firms working on the Boom Supersonic development.

Click to show more