As humans, when we want something to be true, we’re more likely to believe it. In 2017, Boom promised supersonic jet flights ready for passengers by 2023, with a booming prototype known as the XB-1 slated for a 2018 departure. In an age where air travel is actually getting slower, it was wildly exciting news.
Like most things that involve astrophysics, rocket propulsion and environmental regulations however, things are taking a bit longer than expected, and as of this week, what just might be the future of supersonic travel is now showing as delayed. How delayed? Not a few hours like many stormy summer flights, but at least two years…
At the Paris Air Show, Boom Supersonic was forced to dial back their bullish claims for supersonic passenger flights in 2023.
If you read nothing else from this, the company now hopes to have production aircraft on line in 2025, rather than 2023, but even if they do succeed with that feat, 2027 is the new realistic time for a first scheduled passenger flight. That four year delay effectively doubles the initial time frame. Despite the bad news, the company is still experiencing active investment and partnership from the likes of JAL, the Virgin Group and more.
Adding to the slightly out of sync rhythm of this infinitely complicated supersonic dance, Paxex.aero notes that while a partnership for the planes interior has been announced with JPA Design, it’d be downright foolish to actually invest in, or choose a cabin technology today for a plane that won’t take to the skies for at least eight years. Basically: there’s an interior partner, but there won’t be anything to show for many years to come – nor should there be.
For now, to use an aviation term, Boom is in a holding pattern. The XB-1 prototype is now scheduled for test flights in December 2019, rather than 2018 as planned, and until those flights confirm what we the aviation geeks of the world collectively hope to be good news for the supersonic jet program, there’s just not going to be any news for a while.
If you missed your chance to fly Concorde, it’s time to get to the gym – because you’re going to need to live at least a few years longer before the new and perhaps improved answer is ready to take flight. With all this delay, the question is also whether a more advanced company can sneak in and beat them to it…