Boom Supersonic said it received a $10 million investment from Japan Airlines Tuesday as it looks to build a jet that could take travelers from NY to London in just over three hours, potentially zipping by commercial planes from giants Boeing (BA) and Airbus (EADSY).
Japan Airlines (JAL) has concluded a strategic partnership with Boom Supersonic, the US firm that is seeking to develop a new-generation supersonic transport.
In a statement, Boom founder Blake Scholl said the two companies have been working "behind the scenes for over a year now", he said.
As part of the investment in Boom, JAL also has options to purchase as many as 20 of the supersonic planes. Boom had already raised about $41m in funding up to March 2017 from a bevvy of VCs and claimed in June to have a total order bill for 76 aircraft.
Boom is developing a 55-seat plane that it says will be able to more than halve the flight time from NY to London to just three hours and fifteen minutes. "Through this partnership, we hope to contribute to the future of supersonic travel with the intent of providing more "time" to our valued passengers while emphasizing flight safety", said Yoshiharu Ueki, President of Japan Airlines.
"JAL is the first airline in history to make a material financial commitment to a faster future", Scholl said.
The firm has said its jetliner, expected to enter service by the mid 2020s, will fly at speeds of Mach 2.2, 10 percent faster than Concorde, which popularized supersonic jet travel in the 1970s. Airlines who get in line early for all-new jets can benefit from intimate involvement in the design process, giving their wish list for features they think will please passengers, pilots, flight attendants and maintenance crews. The XB-1, "baby boom" as it is nicknamed, will apparently be faster, quieter and more profitable than Concorde ever was.
Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Atlantic has an option for 10 of the aircraft, while Virgin Galactic, the company's space-travel wing, will be involved in the testing process. A flight from Tokyo to Hong Kong could be cut from roughly five hours to around two hours, offering airlines a supersonic shuttle between two of the world's biggest financial centers.
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