Supersonic Jets Can Fly From New York to L.A. In 2.5 Hours

December 01, 2014

Over a decade after the Concorde made its last transatlantic flight, a number of companies are working on the next generation of supersonic passenger aircraft capable of speeds at least twice as fast as current commercial planes.

These planes will likely first appear in the private and business jet market.

It's the "corporate jets and the very rich who would value the speed and pay a high price," said Andrew Goldberg, CEO of Metropolis Group, an investment firm with expertise in the aerospace sector.

At least two companies are currently working on such planes.

Reno, Nevada, based Aerion is developing a $110 million, 12-passenger business jet capable of hitting Mach 1.6 -- or over 1,200 miles per hour. That's roughly twice as fast as the $65 million Gulfstream G650, and would cut the travel time between New York and London from seven hours to just over four.

"There's a business case and a demand for this," said Jeff Miller, Aerion's head of marketing and communication. "People want to get places faster."

The company has deposits from dozens of customers and recently signed an agreement for technical assistance with Airbus -- the company that, in an earlier incarnation, built the Concorde. They hope to deliver the first plane in 2022.

Boston-based Spike Aerospace is working on a similar plane that would also carry business passengers at a speed of Mach 1.6. The company boasts on its website that flying on the plane "will make any other jet feel like flying on a prop plane."

These planes can succeed where the 1960s-era Concorde failed, said Miller, thanks to improvements in aerodynamics, engines and composite materials that will save fuel, and ultimately, money. They will also travel a bit slower than the Concorde to cut costs.

But so far, they can only plan routes that travel mostly over water.

(CNN Money)