Supersonic flights could propel corporate travel to new heights
By GlobalData Travel and Tourism
Aircraft developer Boom Technologies is keen to avoid Concorde’s past mistakes with Boom Overture, a 55-seat supersonic airliner. United Airlines has confirmed the purchase of 15 Overture Boom aircraft for operation in 2029, making it the first commercial airliner to operate supersonic jet aircraft since British Airways ceased Concorde flights in May 2003.
Since the cessation of Concorde in 2003, the travel industry has faced numerous challenges, such as sustainability issues, the Covid-19 pandemic and two global financial recessions. As a result, corporate travel policies are constantly evolving to protect budgets, employee welfare and corporate responsibility programmes.
One of the critical issues with Concorde was the cost of operation, creating inflated ticket prices for the consumer, resulting in a small and prestigious market. The development of the Overture Boom aircraft has the potential to play into emerging corporate travel needs by offering a more cost-efficient, safe and sustainable option.
During a presentation on the Boom Technologies website, CEO Blake Scholl vowed to offer flights for around £2,000 from London to New York, which is the same cost as a standard business class ticket. This cost is significantly cheaper than Concorde tickets, which cost over £11,500 in today’s prices (taking inflation into account). Essentially, this pricing widens the market by creating a competitive business class product that will fit into many corporate travel budgets.
Many airlines have already placed provisional orders with Boom Technologies, which signals faith within the airline industry that there is potential in supersonic travel.
Environmental impact is a significant issue for businesses to take into consideration as part of their travel policies. Large corporations are under constant scrutiny and public pressure to adopt environmentally and socially responsible business practices, with the frequency of private executive air travel often a point of criticism.
One of the main concerns with supersonic jets is the environmental impact given their fuel usage, as historically Concorde was not fuel-efficient. However, Boom Technologies has pledged to use 100% sustainable fuel and follow the airline industry’s commitment to becoming carbon-neutral by 2050.
If Boom Overture can meet its promise regarding zero emissions and provide seats at a cost representing value for money, corporate travel could reach new heights, creating hyper-connected networks in the process.
According to GlobalData’s projection, international business travel will not recover globally until 2024. However, the first supersonic flight will not operate until at least 2029, at which point business travel should have fully recovered.
Many airlines have already placed provisional orders with Boom Technologies, which signals faith within the airline industry that there is potential in supersonic travel. Should this faith be repaid, we could see a more robust and connected corporate travel industry emerging from 2030 onwards.
Main image: United Airlines has confirmed the purchase of 15 Overture Boom aircraft for operation in 2029. Credit: Boom Technologies