American Airlines flyers could travel faster than the speed of sound by the end of a decade aboard Boom’s planned supersonic aircraft.

The Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier has ordered up to 60 of Boom’s Overture aircraft, including a deposit on the first 20, American said Tuesday. As proposed, the Overture seats 65-80 passengers and travel at Mach 1.7, or faster than the speed of sound. Boom plans to roll out the first test aircraft in 2025 and begin delivering it to airlines in 2029.

“Looking to the future, supersonic travel will be an important part of our ability to deliver for our customers,” American Chief Financial Officer Derek Kerr said. “We are excited about how Boom will shape the future of travel.”

American is the third carrier, after United Airlines and Japan Airlines, to commit to the Overture.

(Boom Supersonic)

The Overture remains very much a work in progress. Boom does not have an engine for the aircraft, a critical component that without which the plane is dead-on-arrival. Speaking at the Farnborough Air Show in July, Boom CEO Blake Scholl deflected questions on an engine saying the planemaker would discuss the matter further in the “near future.” He cited progress under a 2020 partnership with Rolls-Royce.

But in a recent interview with The Air Current, when asked about the Boom partnership Rolls-Royce CEO Warren East said: “We’re not making anything speculative for anybody … We’re not spending our dollars on new engine development. Our new engine developments are around our business jet engines and our UltraFan. That’s it.”

There is no available or in-development supersonic engine for commercial aircraft. The only supersonic engines in production are for military aircraft, and the multi-year timeframe needed to develop and certify a new engine makes the target of an Overture first flight in 2026 highly speculative.


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Tags: american airlines