SUPERSONIC AIR TRAVEL COULD RETURN TO THE SKIES IN JUST FIVE YEARS

US firm Boom Supersonic joins more than 100 first time exhibitors dis-playing the future of aerospace at Dubai Airshow
 
Dubai Airshow is a great platform for new ventures, new innovations and ideas, and this year’s first-time exhibitors are no exception.   
 
The next generation of supersonic commercial aircraft could take to the skies in a little over five years, according to US-based Boom Supersonic, which joined more than 100 first time exhibitors in attendance at the biggest ever Dubai Airshow this week.
 
The US-headquartered company is seeking to develop a quiet replacement for Concorde. It hopes to begin aircraft testing in 2018, with a view to accepting passengers onboard its as-yet-unnamed 55-passenger supersonic jet in 2023.
 
“Since the invention of the jet engine in the 1950s, we have seen measurable progress in almost every area of human achievement. Yet what was a five-hour flight in 1950 still takes five hours in 2017,” the firm’s founder, Blake Scholl explained.
 
“Speed isn’t about going really fast. It’s about closeness – making far away places feel like they’re right around the corner. If we can fly twice as fast, the world becomes twice as small. Faster flight brings the world together, spreads culture, strengthens bonds and makes our planet a more accessible home for us all. Today, there are zero scientific barriers to 
supersonic flight,” he said, adding that the industry “can and must do better”.
 
The firm announced that it was looking for a manufacturing site, having raised the US$33m needed for it to build a small-scale test plane. It has 76 jets on pre-order with five airlines, and has had talks with 20 over future purchase deals.
 
Scholl revealed by ditching Concorde’s loud afterburners in favour of turbofan technology, his firm can produce a plane quiet enough to land at busy city airports like London Heathrow at night. “We’re very mindful of the need to make this an economic vehicle that airlines can operate profitably, and that passengers can actually afford to fly on. If you go to really quiet levels of boom, it becomes such a gas guzzler, and while that could work as a business jet it’s not viable as an airliner. But we think there’s a sweet spot of moderate intensity where this is going to blend into the background noise of our not-perfectly-quiet world, making it suitable for overland flight, but also efficient enough to work economically for passengers and airlines.” Nonetheless, the firm has identified 500 potential routes in which supersonic flight over land could be avoided if necessary, which Scholl believes it could operate on with a passenger price comparative price to existing business fares.
 
Elsewhere at the exhibition, global aviation business Vista Jet was looking to make further inroads into the Middle East executive jet market, on the back of recent figures showing a 50 per cent growth in passenger numbers year-on-year. 
 
The firm, an innovator in the pay-as-you-fly subscription market, is making its first appearance at Dubai Airshow 2017 after seeing growth in business across the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Egypt. 
 
Ian Moore, Chief Commercial Officer, said: “We’re seeing a lot of traffic to and from the Middle East right now, and that’s something that’s been really driving our results. I think that comes on the back of a bigger trend we’re seeing around the world, which is people getting away from the commitment of owning their own aircraft or going into fractioning. With us, you know exactly what you’re going to buy and how much it’s going to cost.”
 
Saudi Arabian first time exhibitor, Middle East Propulsion Company (MEPC), a military engine MRO service provider, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with US-based S&K Logistics Services (S&K) at this year’s Airshow.
 
The MOU will allow MEPC and S&K to complement each other’s business models and enhance the service levels of MRO logistics in-Kingdom and throughout the region. The joint goal of both companies remains optimizing mission readiness of the Saudi Arabian Military Aerospace turbine engine platforms. 
 
S&K Logistics Services provides complete logistics and program management services to domestic government agencies and international allies.
 
Keeping with the theme of innovation, Jean Boulle Luxury presented, for the first time in public, a jet coated with Aviation grade “Sun King” Diamond Coating, produced from ethically-sourced natural gem diamonds, launched with its exclusive partners AkzoNobel earlier this year.
 
Show attendees witnessed the amazing multichromatic reflections of the coating on a Bombardier Global Express on the aircraft display area. The coating is produced using Jean Boulle Luxury's proprietary technique to transform ethically-sourced natural diamonds into a finish that guarantees the highest quality and brilliance within precisely defined tolerances.
 
Bertrand Boulle, CEO of Jean Boulle Luxury said: "This is the first plane in the world to be covered in natural gem diamonds resulting from much hard work in both the development and certification processes. The visual impact on this demanding application is simply stunning. We are delighted to be exhibiting at one of the most important aviation events of the year. This is the perfect opportunity to show off the amazing impact of Sun King Diamond Coating on a Bombardier Global Express.”
 
Michele van Akelijen, Managing Director of organisers, Tarsus F&E LLC, said: “Each edition, we welcome more and more global companies to the Dubai Airshow, who find it the perfect springboard to launch their businesses into the region. The UAE is frequently mentioned in global surveys as an easy country to conduct business in – and we certainly see a number of deals secured with every Dubai Airshow.”

Stay in touch

Keep up to date with the industry news