Virgin Galactic Is Helping Develop A New Supersonic Commercial Airplane

If the discomfort of air travel has got you down, the prospect of speedier flight will be music to your ears… or rather, a sonic boom to your ears.

Colorado-based startup Boom Technology is developing a prototype of a plane that flies at more than twice the speed of sound, capable of making the trip from New York City to London in just 3.4 hours.

Last week, Virgin Galactic signed on to help develop and build the plane, meaning a better era of supersonic air travel could be just around the corner.

The Concorde was the last commercial airplane that beat the speed of sound, before services were retired in 2003. While round-trips on the Concorde cost an average of $12,000 at the time, according to Air & Space, round trips from New York to London with Boom are projected to cost $5,000.

“We are talking about the first supersonic jet people can afford to fly,” founder Blake Scholl told The Guardian.

The planes should be able to complete trips from San Francisco to Tokyo in 4.7 hours and L.A. to Sydney in 6 hours, Boom says on its website.

Virgin Galactic intends to help engineer, design and manufacture the supersonic Boom plane. The prototype is not operational yet and Boom is still seeking more funding, but the project is a promising step toward an era in which extra-speedy air travel could become the norm.

Other concept jets like Skreemr, which could fly from London to NYC in just 30 minutes, have been proposed by engineers and inventors looking for the next leap forward.

Hey, a little healthy competition never hurt… right?

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