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United Airlines plans sustainable supersonic passenger flights

United Airlines looks set to introduce supersonic aircraft to its fleet following the conditional order for 15 Overture airliners from Boom Supersonic.

United Airlines
Image: United Airlines/Boom Supersonic

The 15 Overture aircraft will be purchased once they fulfil United’s safety, operating and sustainability requirements. The terms of the agreement include an option for an additional 35 aircraft from the Denver-based aircraft company.

Boom and Rolls-Royce explore propulsion for supersonic Overture

Once operational, Overture is expected to be the first large commercial aircraft to be net-zero carbon as it will be optimised to run on 100 per cent sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). It is slated to roll out in 2025, fly in 2026 and expected to carry passengers by 2029. United and Boom will work together on fulfilling delivery and SAF requirements.

"United continues on its trajectory to build a more innovative, sustainable airline and today's 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 CEO Scott Kirby said in a statement. "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."

Flying at speeds of Mach 1.7 Overture will nearly halve the time to over 500 destinations. Potential routes for United include Newark to London in three and a half hours, Newark to Frankfurt in four hours and San Francisco to Tokyo in six hours.

"The world's first purchase agreement for net-zero carbon supersonic aircraft marks a significant step toward our mission to create a more accessible world," said Blake Scholl, Boom Supersonic founder and CEO. "United and Boom share a common purpose - to unite the world safely and sustainably.”