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American Airlines buys 20 supersonic planes to zip travelers across the globe in half the time

The planes are slated to roll out in 2025 and put passengers in the air by 2029, the airline said.

American Airlines on Tuesday said it has ordered 20 supersonic planes, aircrafts that can carry passengers at twice the speed of today’s fastest commercial aircraft.

American has become the third major airline to announce a supersonic order from Boom Supersonic in Denver, following in the footsteps of Japan Airlines in 2017 and United Airlines in 2021.

"We want to do supersonic as quickly as possible," Boom CEO Blake Scholl said. "We think the world needs this.”

The aircraft, dubbed the Overture, can get travelers from Miami to London in less than five hours instead of the typical eight hours and 40 minutes — all for about the cost of a first-class ticket.

Attendees walk past a poster of a Boom Supersonic concept Overture aircraft at the Farnborough Airshow, in Farnborough, England, on July 18, 2022.
Attendees walk past a poster of a Boom Supersonic concept Overture aircraft at the Farnborough Airshow, in Farnborough, England, on July 18.Justin Tallis / AFP - Getty Images file

Airlines' moves to go supersonic echo a previous attempt to do the same.

The Concorde, a trans-Atlantic supersonic commercial airliner, last flew passengers over the Atlantic at twice the speed of sound in 2003, but a fatal crash in 2000 put an end to the program. It had $12,000 tickets and could barely break even after the British and French governments helped foot the development bill.

Now, Boom is promising travelers a better experience with Overture, a plane they say will be lighter, smaller, quieter and slightly slower than Concorde.

"So every seat, you’re going to have a large window, where you can see the view from 60,000 feet, the curvature of the Earth, the sky a deeper blue," Scholl said.

The aviation company also says its engines will fly carbon-neutral and use 100% sustainable fuels to zip travelers from country to country, adding no new carbon dioxide to the Earth's atmosphere.

Boom has plans for a "super factory" in North Carolina.

"We think ultimately, they’re going to need to be hundreds of Overture aircraft to carry the tens of millions of passengers around the world who can benefit from supersonic," Scholl said.

Overture planes are slated to roll out in 2025 and put passengers in the air by 2029, according to a news release from American, which did not disclose how much the company paid for 20 planes.

American's agreement with Boom gives the airline an option for an additional 40 planes, the company said in the release.

CORRECTION (Aug. 16, 2022, 8:22 p.m. ET): A previous version of this article misstated the name of the aviation company. It is Boom Supersonic, not Boom Aviation.