Could a new Concorde be on the horizon?
Air travel is a mode of transport that continues to grow in popularity, with China expected to become the largest market by 2022. Yet in terms of technology it feels as though technology has stagnated following the demise of the iconic passenger plane known simply as Concorde. Its development and introduction was expected to stand as a catalyst ushering in the age of supersonic air travel. Following its retirement in 2003 there has been little to no hint that its legacy will ever be matched.
Now however there seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel. Blake Scholl, founder and chief executive of Denver-based Boom Supersonic seems to think there is now the potential for supersonic travel to return. And on the surface, it seems he’s not the only one, with 76 pre-orders from an array of airlines, not to mention another 20 carriers currently in talks
Mr Scholl is yet another example of the dotcom effect, standing as a former Amazon executive and founder of mobile payments firm Kima Labs. He’s keen to point out that advances in composite materials and quieter more efficient engines could help boost interest allowing the economies of scale to bring prices down further.
Blake was quick to state: "I remember thinking, in 2007 when the iPhone came out, that the world was getting faster and better. That wasn't so true with flying - flights today take as long as they did in the 1950s.
"When I started looking into this, nothing much was going on in the supersonic market. There was some sci-fi stuff. I thought it was probably impossible.” He continued.
"But after researching the field, I started to think - it's possible, but difficult. If you have enough courage and you get the right people together you can do it, I thought". He added.
Currently in Dubai trying to gain further orders from some of the Middle Eastern carriers, the aim is to tap into a potential 2,000 supersonic aircraft over the next 10 years. He’s also hints at a possible production facility somewhere in the Gulf, which is likely to help support his sales driver in the region.
The project has a long journey ahead, with the aircrafts first iteration set to utilise a 55-seat configuration, with a range of around 4,500 nautical miles. The business case certainly stands up, but it will be well into 2020 before we see anything shooting through the clouds.