Boom Supersonic Jet Plan Boosted By $10m JAL Funding

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Boom Supersonic Jet Plan Boosted By $10m JAL Funding

Thanks to the terms of their strategic partnership, JAL will have a say as well as being "directly involved" in how several important parts of the program end up shaping up.

The investment appears to fit JAL's strategy of investing in adjacent markets to offset lost revenues as major competitors - such as United Airlines and Cathay Pacific - offer more transpacific non-stop flights, overflying the Oneworld alliance carrier's hub in Tokyo. By relying on non-afterburning engines, composite structures and existing technology, the Boom airliner will be created to operate at a quarter of the costs of Concorde. It also gets the option to purchase up to 20 Boom Supersonic aircraft through a pre-order arrangement - joining Virgin Group as an option holder.

Boom founder and CEO Blake Scholl said his company has been "working with Japan Airlines behind the scenes" for more than a year.

"Think about for a moment the families that are separated because of the long flights". For obvious reasons, many of its global flights are long - Boom's jets could dramatically reduce that travel time for passengers willing to pay a premium.

The iconic plane flew regularly between Europe and NY for 27 years but was withdrawn from service because of high costs. Next year the company plans to fly "the first independently developed supersonic jet", the XB-1 - powered by three General Electric J85-21 turbojet engines. The two companies will cooperate closely to realize faster and more convenient air travel.

Virgin Atlantic Airways is the only other customer that's been publicly identified.

United Kingdom airline Virgin Atlantic already has options for 10 of the aircraft, and an unnamed European carrier has options on 15 more, Boom has said. It claims its aircraft will produce a sonic boom at least 30 times quieter than the Concorde's, which often prompted noise complaints. Supersonic flight is banned over Europe and the United States.

The speed isn't just attractive for intercontinental flights, Scholl said. In addition, it is designing the aircraft to keep costs down so airlines can charge fares comparable to business class. Round-trip fares on the Concorde between NY and London generally were more than $10,000, according to the BBC, while Boom lists its projected costs as $2,500 per leg for the same journey.

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