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American Airlines agrees to buy as many as 20 supersonic airliners from Boom

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Boom says its Overture aircraft would have a range of 4,250 nautical miles and could make the flight from Miami to London in less than five hours. With subsonic planes, that trip takes almost nine hours. Image courtesy Boom Supersonic
Boom says its Overture aircraft would have a range of 4,250 nautical miles and could make the flight from Miami to London in less than five hours. With subsonic planes, that trip takes almost nine hours. Image courtesy Boom Supersonic

Aug. 16 (UPI) -- American Airlines announced on Tuesday that it has agreed to buy as many as 20 supersonic airliners -- which have not yet gone into production -- from startup Boom Technology.

American said the deal includes an agreement for the company's supersonic jetliner, called the Overture. The planes were announced several years ago and are still years away from flying. AA also paid a non-refundable deposit.

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The agreement includes an option for American, the world's largest carrier, to buy 40 more of the supersonic planes.

The Overture is still in the design phase and none of the aircraft have yet been produced. It's designed to carry between 65 and 80 passengers at Mach 1.7, or 1,304 mph, over water. That speed is roughly twice the speed of the fastest conventional commercial aircraft.

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The jet would have a range of 4,250 nautical miles and could make the flight from Miami to London in less than five hours. With subsonic planes, that trip takes almost nine hours. It's also intended to be a net-zero carbon aircraft and fly on 100% sustainable aviation fuel.

"Looking to the future, supersonic travel will be an important part of our ability to deliver for our customers," American Airlines Chief Financial Officer Derek Kerr said in a statement.

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"We are excited about how Boom will shape the future of travel both for our company and our customers."

No commercial aircraft anywhere in the world has carried passengers beyond the speed of sound since the British-French Concorde, pictured, was retired almost 20 years ago. File Photo by Jeff Christensen/UPI

Boom is planning to roll out the Overture in 2025 and carry its first passengers by 2029.

American on Tuesday became Boom's second major U.S. commercial aviation customer. United announced a year ago that it would buy 15 of the planes once they're built. Japan Airlines and the U.S. Air Force have also placed orders for the plane.

"We are proud to share our vision of a more connected and sustainable world with American Airlines," Boom CEO Blake Scholl said in a statement.

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"We believe Overture can help American deepen its competitive advantage on network, loyalty and overall airline preference through the paradigm-changing benefits of cutting travel times in half."

No commercial aircraft has been able to fly at the speed of sound since the Concorde was retired in 2003. That airliner had a maximum recorded speed of Mach 2.04, or 1,565 mph, and could carry 100 passengers.

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The cost of airfare to fly aboard Concorde, however, was extremely expensive and severely limited its customer base. Aviation startups like Boom hope that modern technologies will make supersonic flight in the future more affordable to the average traveler.

"Our goal is to develop an airliner that will be a great addition to any international airline's fleet," Scholl said in 2018.

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