Lonely Planet Writer

Supersonic air travel has a new champion in Japan Airlines

With the age of supersonic air travel coming closer and closer, Japan Airlines announced yesterday it will invest US$10 million in the new technology.

Japan Airlines could be flying supersonic aircrafts within the decade. Image by Boom

The airline is the first to financially invest in the new technology and represents a huge step forward for making faster long-haul flights a reality. The strategic partnership is with startup company Boom Supersonic who are promising an updated version of the supersonic technology that the Concorde was famous for.

In the terms of the partnership, Japan Airlines will collaborate with Boom to refine the design of the aircraft and create the entire passenger experience, which will be akin to business class. They will also have the option to pre-order 20 supersonic aircrafts in the future.

“We’ve been working with Japan Airlines behind the scenes for over a year now,” said Blake Scholl, founder and CEO of Boom Supersonic in a statement. “Our goal is to develop an airliner that will be a great addition to any international airline’s fleet.”

The new aircrafts will travel at twice the speed of sound. Image by Rahul Prasad / EyeEm

Earlier in the year, Boom promised the supersonic airfares would be line with current business class prices which, with Japan Airlines current prices, mean you could fly from Tokyo to Los Angeles in five hours for approximately $4000. It is likely the new technology will only be used on long haul, transoceanic flights

With better cost efficiency, advances in safety and already interest from major airlines including Virgin Galactic, the new age of mainstream supersonic air travel may be less than a decade away. Boom announced earlier this year that their first test flights are scheduled for 2018.