Sir Richard Branson on Tuesday heralded the rebirth of supersonic passenger flights with the unveiling of a prototype aircraft promising 3.5-hour flights from London to New York for an “affordable” $5,000 return.
The billionaire Virgin Group founder said his Spaceship company would help Denver-based startup Boom build a new generation of supersonic jets and reintroduce transatlantic flight times unseen since Concorde was scrapped.
“I have long been passionate about aerospace innovation and the development of high-speed commercial flights,” Branson said. “As an innovator in the space, Virgin Galactic’s decision to work with Boom was an easy one. We’re excited to have an option on Boom’s first 10 airframes. Through Virgin Galactic’s manufacturing arm, the Spaceship Company, we will provide engineering and manufacturing services, along with flight test support and operations as part of our shared ambitions.”
Branson is partnering with Blake Scholl, a pilot and former Amazon executive, who will later on Tuesday unveil a prototype of the new jet in a hangar in Denver, Colorado. While several other companies, including Boeing and Lockheed Martin, are developing new supersonic jets, Scholl said his plan was likely to beat them to market as it does not require any new technology that would need approval by regulators.