Supersonic air travel expected to take flight over next decade

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Supersonic air travel expected to take flight over next decade

Supersonic air travel expected to take flight over next decade

Subheading text
Aviation investors are set to revive supersonic flight using innovative technologies and solutions.
    • Author:
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      Quantumrun Foresight
    • February 2, 2022

    Post text

    Despite the retirement of the Concorde in the early 2000s, supersonic flights continue to be touted as a future trend in aviation. Technological advances and modern engineering have sought to overcome or eliminate some of the challenges faced by the Concorde in its operational days, with companies at the forefront of supersonic flights indicating that we could see this form of travel rise from the ashes in the next decade. 

    In addition to a planned aircraft from Boom, a company based in Denver, Colorado in the United States (US), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has also committed to launching a supersonic aircraft soon. 

    Supersonic flights context

    January 1976 marked a turning point in air travel as the Concorde, a collaboration between Britain and France, launched commercially. Popular among wealthy jetsetters, the aircraft travelled faster than the speed of sound, reducing travel times drastically. Unfortunately, the Concorde had its challenges too: it was incredibly noisy over the areas it flew over, it generated large amounts of pollution from its greater fuel consumption, and its financial viability was marginal. While it eventually did become profitable for British Airways, the Concorde took its last flight in 2003.

    Disruptive impact

    While supersonic flight is not expected to replace traditional air travel completely, it remains the fastest way to travel by air, promising to cut travel time by almost half on some routes. Innovation in the technology used and aircraft design has only reinforced this possibility and aviation stakeholders have sought to address the other challenges as well. 

    Boom has said that it expects Overture—its supersonic aircraft—to run on sustainable aviation fuel and operate as a net-zero carbon aircraft. Meanwhile, NASA said that its aircraft has been shaped to reduce the volume of the sonic boom to a gentle thump. Therefore, the key to the success of future supersonic flights could be the cost of travel. 

    Implications for supersonic flights

    Wider implications for supersonic air travel include:

    • Faster direct first-class and business travel routes.
    • Novel logistics opportunities for high-value cargo.
    • Faster reaction times to enable politicians, emergency specialists, and military personnel to be deployed into high-priority environments, e.g., protests, natural disasters, time-sensitive combat missions, etc.

    Questions to comment on

    • Will supersonic flights replace premium air travel completely?
    • Would you invest in supersonic flight at least once, despite possibly higher ticket prices?

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