Imagine being able to travel from New York to London in just over three hours. If a Richard Branson-backed startup has its way, this could soon be a reality.
The British billionaire just inked a deal with Colorado-based startup , which is building supersonic passenger planes that can travel at Mach 2.2. For those keeping track, that's 1,451 miles per hour, or 2.6 times faster than any other airliner.
Branson's Virgin Group has taken an option in Boom's first 10 planes, according to . As part of the deal, Branson's private space exploration company Virgin Galactic and its manufacturing arm The Spaceship Company will help manufacture and test Boom's supersonic planes.
Branson isn't the only one investing to bring Boom's vision to life. An unnamed European carrier is also reportedly looking to option 15 additional planes. Together, the two orders could total more than $5 billion worth of planes.
"I have long been passionate about aerospace innovation and the development of high-speed commercial flights," the Virgin founder was quoted in as saying. "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."
Just don't expect these supersonic planes to start commerical operations in the near future. Boom is planning its first flight for late 2017, and The Independent reports that commercial flights aren't expected until around 2023. A one-way flight from New York to London would set you back $2,500.
Meanwhile, a flight from San Francisco to Tokyo would take just 5.5 hours (instead of 11 hours currently) and cost $3,250 in a Boom-built plane. Los Angeles to Sydney would take 6 hours 45 minutes (instead of 15 hours) and cost $3,500.
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