American Airlines has agreed in principle to purchase 20 supersonic jets, the company announced. Last week, the airline carrier paid a non-refundable deposit to Boom Supersonic for 20 of their Overture aircraft.
American Airlines could end up ordering up to 40 jets but will begin testing with half the amount. The total cost of the purchase has not yet been disclosed, but Boom Supersonic CEO Brett Scholl said that the company charges $200 million per jet during a 2020 interview.
If those numbers still hold true, American Airlines would be on the hook for a whopping $4 billion invoice.
The specifics of the purchase will be subject to a finalized purchase agreement with future agreed upon milestones and other terms, including customary requirements and conditions," AA spokesman Rob Himler said.
American Airlines is the second largest airline in the world and was last valued at $6 billion in 2020.
The Overture aircraft model that American Airlines ordered is still in the design stage and a few years away from taking the skies.
Boom is designing the Overture to be able to travel at Mach 1.7, twice the speed of today's fastest commercial aircraft, with a range of 4,250 nautical miles. Passengers would be able to fly from Miami to London in less than five hours and Los Angeles to Honolulu in three hours, according to Boom.
Before taking flight, the Overture aircraft will have to meet stringent industry standards, as supersonic air travel was previously outlawed globally. It was not until 2003, that the Concorde agreement was retired by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and British Airways.
The agreement was put in place to outlaw clunky, loud aircraft that caused extreme noise disruption during flight. The FAA has banned supersonic flights over U.S. land since 1973.
In 2018, fifteen years removed from the last Concorde flight, U.S regulators are weighing rule changes to allow testing of early-stage supersonic jets. As airlines sought ways to expedite the process of air travel, supersonic jets grew as a popular option.
With the Concorde agreement now a thing of the past, Boom expects to roll out their supersonic Overture aircraft in 2025.
Looking to the future, supersonic travel will be an important part of our ability to deliver for our customers,” AA Chief Financial Officer Derek Kerr said in a statement. "We are excited about how Boom will shape the future of travel both for our company and our customers."
This latest move by American Airlines, which is headquartered in Fort Worth, could be an economic boon for Texas.
Fort Worth business leaders say it’s also too early to predict what DFW-based supersonic flights could mean for industrial and corporate recruitment.
The purchase of the Overture supersonic aircraft presents an exciting opportunity for American Airlines, and we look forward to seeing how that agreement is fleshed out over time,” said Robert Sturns, director of economic development for the city of Fort Worth.
American Airlines is not the only major carrier to sign a deal with Boom Supersonic. Last year, United Airlines agreed to purchase 15 Overture jets from Boom.
Both airlines are expected to begin rollouts in 2025 with the first flights set for 2026.