The Chicago-based US carrier and founding member of Star Alliance United Airlines made waves in the aviation industry earlier this week. It did so by announcing confirmation of its order for 15 Boom Overture supersonic aircraft. There are also options for another 15. Since the aircraft was announced for commissioning by the end of the decade, let’s look at how it compares to the last supersonic aircraft. Of course, we are talking about the legendary Concord.
Dimensions and capacity
Opposing the overture to Concorde in terms of their specifications is a good way to explore how far supersonic space has come over the years. The two planes are very similar in length, with the Concorde measuring 202 feet and four inches (61.67 meters) and the overture 62 feet (62.48 meters) long, according to the Boom website.
This may have led you to believe that the overture would outperform Concorde in terms of capacity. However, it is set to offer a spacious, configured 1-1 premium cabin, which will reduce that figure to between 65 and 88 passengers. Meanwhile, the Concorde 2-2 configured accommodates between 92 and 120 guests (128 with a high-density specification).
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Like the Concorde, the overture will travel at an altitude of 60,000 feet. However, it will lag slightly behind its European predecessor in terms of cruising speed. Although previous reports advertised a cruising speed of Mach 2.2, it has now been reduced to Mach Mach. Meanwhile, the Concorde managed to travel at about twice the speed of sound.
However, although a slower aircraft, the overture has a more stable accent. In fact, its production is planned to be net zero in terms of carbon emissions since its launch. It will also run on sustainable fuel. The overture beat the Concorde in terms of range, driving 7,870 km (4,250 NM). Meanwhile, the range of the Concorde was 7,222.8 km (3,900 NM).
Routes of each aircraft
Following United’s announcement, Simple Flying looked at the routes the overture could take. Generally speaking, its specifications and the toughest markets for which it will be most suitable may to some extent limit the corridors for which an aircraft is suitable. In this sense, it may be similar to Concorde.
Of course, the legendary British-French aircraft was best known for its supersonic crossings in the North Atlantic. They usually saw Air France and BA deploy Concorde from London and Paris to New York and Washington, sometimes in less than three hours. As such, it is believed that United may want to deploy the overture from the centers of the East Coast of the United States such as Newark and Washington to key European destinations such as London and Frankfurt.
As we found out, United Airlines was the first carrier to take the next big step towards the return of commercial supersonic air travel. The announcement of an order for 15 Boom Overture aircraft (and 35 options) earlier this week caused excitement among the airline. But how do these figures compare to Concorde’s orders?
Interestingly, United’s 15 firm orders for the overture exceeded the number of production examples for Concorde that Aérospatiale and BAC built. In total, only 14 Concorde passengers carried revenue-generating flights: seven each for Air France and BA.
However, several other airlines had temporary orders for the legendary supersonic aircraft, which were later canceled. In total, 16 carriers (in addition to Air France and BA) had options for Concorde, a total of about 100 aircraft. United was one of them, with six options. As such, it will be interesting to see whether this follows with its Boom Overture order, and how many other airlines will follow United’s suit and also order the type. Watch this space …
Are you looking forward to seeing Boom Overture on United Airlines? Have you ever been lucky enough to fly a Concorde? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.