Interview: What’s Expected of the Boom Overture

Boom Supersonic VP of Sustainability Ben Murphy tells Airways how they will achieve the fastest airliner.



July 22, 2023

DALLAS – The fastest airliner is a goal that Boom Supersonic has been pursuing for a while. The company's first commercial aircraft has been fronted as the Boom Overture. Boom Technology intends to launch the Boom Overture in 2029, a Mach 1.7, 65-80 passenger supersonic airliner with a 4,250 nmi range. Will it achieve its goal?

Over time, Boom has changed partners for their sustainable aviation fuel and those building the engine as they continue to refine its design and functionality. Airways was interested in learning when and what the public might anticipate as we look forward to its inaugural flight.

Here is what happened during our interaction with Boom’s VP of Sustainability, Ben Murphy.

When do you expect Overture’s first commercial flight?

We continue to make meaningful progress toward the Overture milestones we have laid out: rollout in 2026, first flight in 2027, and type certification in 2029 – type certification is what will enable Overture to carry its first passengers.

Lately, there’s been a lot of talk about climate change and eco-friendly aircraft are needed. How will the Boom Overture achieve zero emissions?

Overture and Symphony are designed from the ground up and optimized to run on 100% SAF. Boom will power Overture’s development, certification, and production flight tests using SAF. Boom recently announced SAF offtake agreements with AIR COMPANY and Dimensional Energy – each company will supply up to 5 million gallons of SAF on an annual basis over the duration of the Overture flight test program.

As a company, Boom’s plan to achieve net zero carbon by 2025 and net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2040 builds on the significant progress already made by the company. Notably, Boom already achieved carbon neutrality through reduction initiatives and high-quality carbon credits beginning in 2021. 

The efforts that led to achieving carbon neutrality beginning in 2021, and will pave the road to net zero carbon, are defined by three essential steps: regularly measure, reduce, and offset residual emissions.

  • Measure: Boom accounts for the emissions of its entire value chain, partnering with Watershed for emissions accounting and climate strategy in order to ensure compliance with the GHG Protocol. 
  • Reduce: The company evaluates and executes opportunities to drive reductions in carbon. In 2021, Boom joined the Sustainable Aviation Buyers Alliance (SABA), a buyer-led collaboration spearheaded by RMI and the Environmental Defense Fund to accelerate the path to net zero aviation by driving investment in and adoption of SAF, and the Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association (AFRA), ensuring that best practices for recycling and reuse are integrated into Overture's design from an early stage. Additionally, all Boom facilities are powered by 100% renewable energy.
  • Offset: Boom invests in a broad portfolio of high-impact, high-quality carbon offset and removal solutions for residual emissions that cannot be mitigated. Boom signed a 10-year agreement with Climeworks to remove CO2 emissions through direct air capture and storage. And through our partnership with Watershed, Boom is also participating in Frontier, an advanced market commitment focused on accelerating permanent carbon removal.

For Overture, circularity is a critical pillar to drive sustainability at scale. This goes for all aspects of Overture, from design and production to flight and end-of-life recycling. Our engineering team prioritizes circularity by repurposing used tooling, recycling components on the shop floor, and leveraging additive manufacturing techniques that result in less manufacturing waste and lighter, more fuel-efficient products.

We understand that airlines have already made orders for the Supersonic aircraft. Which ones will you serve first?

Boom’s commercial order book for Overture currently stands at 130 aircraft. By comparison, only 14 Concordes ever entered service. In August 2022, American Airlines (AA) placed a deposit on up to 20 aircraft, with an option for 40 more. In June 2021, United Airlines ordered 15 Overture aircraft, with an option for 35 more. Japan Airlines made a pre-order for 20 aircraft in 2017. 

Given the advantage of supersonic on transoceanic flights, long-haul carriers are naturally very excited. We are building on and driving innovation in sustainable air travel and progress in alternative fuels to make the fastest flights also the most sustainable.

With the change in engine manufacturers, have there been greater and/or new developments, changes, and progress with Symphony?

In December 2022, we announced that we are teaming with industry leaders for SymphonyTM, Overture’s propulsion system, including foundational partners GE Additive, StandardAero, and Florida Turbine Technologies (FTT), a business unit of Kratos Defense & Security Solutions.

At the Paris Air Show in June 2023, Boom shared the engine architecture and additional key specifications for Symphony. Reflecting this progress, Boom unveiled its 3D-printed ⅓ scale design model for Symphony. 

Boom also announced an expanded partnership with engine design partner FTT to assemble the initial production units for ground test, flight test, and certification. Boom will leverage FTT’s considerable experience with supersonic engines, ensuring seamless continuity as Symphony transitions from design to production. Boom has identified Jupiter, Florida as the base for initial production. 

How affordable do you anticipate flights to be when the Overture officially starts operations?

Ultimately, fares are up to our airline partners. We’ve designed Overture to be profitable for airlines at fares similar to first and business class and across hundreds of transoceanic routes. Overture will fly more than 600 profitable routes around the world in as little as half the time. 

In the future, do you plan on having different classes for travelers just as it is with the current commercial airlines?

That question is best answered by our airline partners, who will determine what classes of service will be provided onboard Overture.

We’re investing a great deal in improving the overall passenger experience, developing a cabin that is comfortable, tranquil, and productive for travelers.

Overture will carry 64-80 passengers and fly above other commercial aircraft at an altitude of up to 60,000 feet—high enough to see the curvature of the earth below. Flying at supersonic speeds tends to be smoother than subsonic flight because, at 60,000 feet, you’re flying above most turbulence. We will have more details to share about the interior cabin design soon.

Where do you see yourselves in a decade, in regard to the commercial airliners market?

Our long-term vision for the future is sustainable supersonic travel. Any conversation about the future of travel must focus on sustainability, which is one of Boom’s foundational pillars. For Boom, our environmental sustainability priorities stem from an ambitious but achievable commitment to net zero carbon by 2025 and an approach rooted in driving systemic change.

We’re designing Symphony and Overture to run on 100% SAF from day one, facilitating net zero carbon operation. We intend to go beyond our own goals to create impact at scale, mobilizing our value chain, collaborating with stakeholders across the global travel ecosystem, and leading advocacy efforts to advance sustainable travel.

Boom Supersonic has just signed the agreement for sustainable aviation fuel with Dimensional Energy. Please walk us through how the SAF will work with the Overture. 

Overture is designed from the ground up and optimized to run on 100% SAF, enabling net zero carbon operations. Boom will power Overture’s development, certification, and production flight tests using SAF.

Boom recently announced a SAF offtake agreement with Dimensional Energy, which will supply up to 5 million gallons of SAF on an annual basis over the duration of the Overture flight test program.

Featured image: Boom Supersonic