Will supersonic commercial aviation return?
It was just over two decades ago that supersonic aviation came to an end, after the accident that occurred to the Air France Concorde, registration F-BTSC, which took off in flames from Charles de Gaulle International Airport (CDG) in 2000. Since then and to date, little thought has been given to returning to such flights.
The truth is that after 22 years of the catastrophic event, commercial aviation has once again set its sights on interesting projects that are still in the testing stages. Recently, the American Airlines company raised its hand and showed great interest in acquiring aircraft with supersonic capabilities for its commercial flights.
A luxury aviation, fast and with excesses (of fuel)
Avoiding a little the military development of the last decades in aircraft with these capabilities, we focus on a short but fruitful career of the only commercial aircraft that made supersonic aviation possible, the Concorde.
It was on Monday, December 11, 1967 that the Concorde registration F-WTSS was presented (Rollout), to the whole world, thus starting a 31-year career, where it operated mainly for British Airways and Air France airlines.
The operation of Concorde was extremely expensive, fuel, repairs, maintenance, training of crews and ground personnel, among others. In addition, it was not an environmentally friendly aircraft, very noisy and highly polluting.
When the Concorde crash occurred in 2000, no airline was interested in flying at supersonic speeds, least of all passengers.
Supersonic aviation has always been on the minds of aircraft engineers and manufacturers. In the large complexes of Toulouse, Seattle and São José dos Campos, several projects have been worked on with this aircraft, however the clients (airlines) did not show a real interest in this type of aircraft… until now.
The idea was clear, "low-cost airlines", which are the majority, wanted planes capable of transporting many passengers at low costs. Airbus understood and capitalized on this very well, and for at least the last two decades, commercial aviation has focused on twin-engine, single-aisle aircraft.
The supersonic planes that have been developed in recent years, such as the X-59 QueSST, by Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works, the AS2 by Aerion Corporation and now the Boom Overture, by Boom Sonic, which up to now, commercially speaking, has paid off, brings good marketing and a good order has already been accommodated, it is the Boom Overture.
American Airlines ordered 20 units, valued at $200 million each. This gives a clear idea that the situation is going more than well and probably by the year 2026, we can return to commercial supersonic aviation.
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