The era of supersonic flights supposedly ended nearly two decades ago. The Concorde — a 100-passenger jet that could cruise at 1,300 miles an hour and reach London from New York in a mere three and a half hours — made its swan song flight on October 24, 2004. In 27 years in service, it struggled to turn a profit and faced rising safety concerns after a devastating crash in 2000. Since then, airline passengers have had to cruise along at decidedly subsonic speeds.Now, United Airlines wants to put extra-fast travel back into the atmosphere. The fourth-largest U.S. airline announced last week that it had reached an agreement with the Colorado-based startup Boom Supersonic to purchase 15 faster-than-sound planes, slated to zip passengers across the world starting in 2029. The skinny, pencil-like jets — which Boom has musically dubbed “Overtures” — are expected to carry 65 to 88 passengers, fly at 1,300 miles per hour and transport some of the world’s richest from New York to London for a quick lunch meeting.
And, barring an incredible technological breakthrough, they will also be terrible for the planet.
If flying is bad for the climate, flying fast is worse: Ne... Read more