Lonely Planet Writer

London to New York in 3 1/2 hours? This mini supersonic jet could be even faster than Concorde

An aviation start-up in the US is aiming to build a mini supersonic jet capable of becoming a next generation Concorde, able to fly between London and New York in just over three hours. Boom Technology has unveiled the XB-1, or “Baby Boom” as it likes to call it, a small supersonic jet it says can travel faster than Concorde ever could and turn the current seven-hour flight across the Atlantic to New York into one that lasts three hours and 15 minutes.

The XB-1 could be in the air by 2020.
The XB-1 could be in the air by 2020.
Image by Boom

It will do this by travelling at more than 1400 mph. A prototype of the jet, which currently only has room for two people including the pilot, has been unveiled in Denver, and Boom aims to have the final version ready for passengers by 2020. The other key point of the plan is to make the Baby Boom affordable, with Boom saying tickets each way will be $2500 (£2000) for New York to London flights. That’s good value when a one-way ticket to New York in first class, on a regular plane, can cost as much as £8000 today.  Boom says it hopes to start test flights in 2017.

Sir Richard Branson who is in at the start up stage with boom's exploration in creating travel speed at over twice as fast as sound
Richard Branson has expressed an interest in buying the planes.   Image by David Davies/PA Wire.

The new jets have received the backing of Richard Branson. He is reported to be considering taking out an option of buying the first ten of the aircraft, costing £200 million each. Branson said he is passionately behind the development of such high-speed flights for commercial planes as well as all aerospace innovation.

Concorde in its heyday.
The plane is said to resemble Concorde in looks.

Because of this, the decision by Virgin Galactic to work with Boom was easy, he claimed. Until 13 years ago, Concorde ran a regular transatlantic service costing $20,000 a ticket, with the flight lasting three and a half hours in duration. This time round, Blake Scholl, who is a former pilot, Amazon executive and a Boom founder, believes the availability of the latest technology means his company can resurrect the dream crossing-time. He told the Denver Post that his plan was to establish something that wasn’t just private, but could be used by friends and family to fly on.