Boom gets $10m boost from Japan to get superjet off the ground

A JAL 777-300ER featuring a PGA gold emblem

Japan's second largest airline has the option to purchase up to 20 Boom aircraft and will assist efforts to hone the aircraft's design and passenger experience, the companies said on Tuesday. Virgin Atlantic, Sir Richard Branson's airline, has an option for 10 of the aircraft.

Boom is building a passenger jet capable of flying two times faster than the speed of sound. That's about half as many as the Concorde, which retired over a decade ago, ending an era of supersonic travel. Specifications for the JAL-backed jet are for a 55-passenger plane available for service starting in the mid-2020s that has a range of 5,229 miles - or 8,343 kilometers - and a Mach 2.2 cruising speed.

The funding is a significant endorsement from the highly respected JAL.

"We are very proud to be working with Boom on the advancement in the commercial aviation industry", Japan Airlines president Yoshiharu Ueki said in a joint statement. "The money is largely symbolic, but it's an important symbol".

Boom Technology had commitments for 75 planes and customers have paid significant deposits, CEO Blake Scholl said at the Paris Air Show in June.

"Think about for a moment the families that are separated because of the long flights. JAL is helping Boom deliver something further: a mainstream supersonic airliner, which is practical, reliable, and economic". A member of the oneworld® alliance, the airline now reaches more than 344 airports in 56 countries and regions together with its codeshare partners with a modern fleet of more than 230 aircraft.

An artist's impression of the Boom Supersonic aircraft. The Concorde had a maximum speed just over twice the speed of sound and could seat more than 100 passengers, but rising maintenance costs and a decline in passengers following a deadly post-takeoff crash in Paris in July 2000 forced its retirement.

Japan Airlines (JAL) was founded in 1951 and became the first global airline in Japan.

Boom says its aircraft, priced at $200 million, will produce a sonic boom at least 30 times quieter than the Concorde, which was also dogged by high operating costs and fuel consumption and low capacity utilization. The airliner relisted in Japan two years later.

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