American Airlines agrees to buy 20 supersonic planes from Boom

Blake Scholl, the CEO of Boom stands in front of the XB-1 aircraft that Boom Supersonic is using to test the avionics of their proposed aircraft, with which they hope to resurrect commercial supersonic air travel across the Atlantic, in Centennial, Colorado, August 13, 2021.

Alyson McClaran | Reuters

American Airlines has agreed to purchase 20 supersonic Overture planes from Boom Supersonic, the companies announced Tuesday.

The deal is the second firm order in the last two years for Boom, still years from building its first commercial airplane. United Airlines made a commitment last year to buy 15 Overture jets.

“Passengers want flights that are faster, more convenient, more sustainable and that’s what Overture delivers,” Boom CEO Blake Scholl told CNBC. “Flight times can be as little as half as what we have today, and that works great in networks like American where we can fly Miami to London in less than five hours.”

Boom says the Overture jet will fly as fast as Mach 1.7, or 1,304 mph, dramatically cutting trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific flight times. For example, a flight from Seattle to Tokyo, which typically takes just over 10 hours, could be completed in six hours in an Overture, according to Boom.

“Supersonic travel will be an important part of our ability to deliver for our customers,” American’s chief financial officer, Derek Kerr, said in a statement announcing the order. American is paying Boom an undisclosed amount as a nonrefundable deposit.

The airline also has the option to purchase another 40 Overtures in the future.

A mock up of Boom Supersonic’s proposed “Overture” plane. The U.S. firm has said it is targeting the mid-2020s for it to enter service.

Boom Supersonic

Boom says its supersonic planes will carry 65 to 80 passenger while flying on sustainable aviation fuel offering lower emissions.

Still, Overture is years away from becoming a reality. Boom will build the jet at a new manufacturing plant in North Carolina and expects to roll out the first model in 2025, with the first flight in 2026. If the flight tests and certification process goes as scheduled, Boom says the Overture will enter commercial service by the end of the decade.

— CNBC’s Meghan Reeder contributed to this article.