Boom Supersonic said it received a $10 million investment from Japan Airlines Tuesday as it looks to build a jet that could take travelers from NY to London in just over three hours, potentially zipping by commercial planes from giants Boeing (BA) and Airbus (EADSY).
Boom Supersonic had been secretly working with JAL for more than a year to understand more about the dynamics of commercial flight operations, founder and chief executive officer Blake Scholl said.
On top of the "strategic" investment, JAL will collaborate with Boom to refine the aircraft design and help define the passenger experience for supersonic travel, JAL said.
There are also options for 46 more aircraft from unidentified customers.
The new-generation supersonic aircraft, scheduled to be launched in the mid-2020s, has a maximum flying range of 8,334 kilometres at a speed of Mach 2.2 or 2,335 kilometres per hour.
Boom's aircraft is expected to produce a sonic boom that would be at least 30 times quieter than Concorde's, which was dogged by high operating costs and fuel consumption and low capacity utilization.
BOOM SUPERSONIC A look inside at the proposed jet
"JAL is the first airline in history to make a material financial commitment to a faster future", Scholl said.
The airliner Boom hopes to one day build would cruise at 1,450 miles per hour - 2.2 times the speed of sound - and accommodate 45 to 55 passengers in business class seating. "The two companies will cooperate closely to realize faster and more convenient air travel", the companies' announcement said.
In an age where we're legitimately anxious about hyper-intelligent robots taking our jobs, you'd have thought supersonic flights would have been a piece of cake, but the forces that grounded Concorde are there. Virgin Atlantic, Sir Richard Branson's airline, has an option for 10 of the aircraft.
Boom claims to have cracked the supersonic code, planning an initial list price of $200m per aircraft, with orders envisaged at 1,000 by 2035.
Earlier this year, Boom raised $33 million to fund the development of the XB-1 prototype.
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That date has slipped, not least because of early problems with the Falcon 9's engine cluster, and launch failures. Musk said the vehicle will be playing David Bowie's "Space Oddity" while it heads toward Mars orbit.