From Sydney to Hong Kong in less than four supersonic hours?

By David Flynn, January 6 2017
From Sydney to Hong Kong in less than four supersonic hours?

Want to zip from Sydney to Hong Kong in barely four hours?

That's not only less than half of the nine hours usually needed for this trip, it's also quicker than it takes to fly between Sydney and Perth.

The founder and CEO of supersonic startup Boom has cited routes like Sydney-Hong Kong as ideal corridors for his next-gen Concorde, on top of 'hero' routes such as London to New York and Sydney or Melbourne to Los Angeles.

“Over 500 routes have enough traffic for supersonic service and the opportunity for meaningful speedups,” Blake Scholl explained to RoutesOnline.

"Any transatlantic or transpacific route will experience significant speedups, as will Asia/Pacific routes such as Hong Kong to Perth or Sydney."

Scholl's spruiking comes on the back of an un-named European airline taking an option for 15 of the compact supersonic jets, in addition to the ten options inked by Richard Branson's Virgin Group for delivery from 2023.

"Asian, Gulf, and South American carriers will also see great value in using Boom airplanes to fly travellers faster," he said.

How much faster? The Boom XB-1 will be capable of scything through the sky at Mach 2.2 – just over twice the speed of sound, at 2,700km per hour.

That's even zippier than the Concorde's Mach 2 and almost three times the clip of conventional commercial jet from 800km/h to 965km/h.

However, Boom's advanced design and use of modern lightweight materials such as a carbon composite fuselage should make for supersonic flying with less noise and greater fuel efficiency.

It'll also be much more comfortable than the Concorde, with Boom's all-business class layout of 45 seats - arranged in a private jet-style layout with just one seat either side of the centre aisle – providing plenty of legroom and creature comforts...

... compared to the cramped seating of the original Concorde.

Scholl predicts that Boom will succeed where Concorde eventually failed because developments in technology and lighter materials will translate into much cheaper tickets which will make supersonic travel affordable to the mainstream.

"It won’t be a bucket-list purchase any more" he promises.


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

28 May 2016

Total posts 128

Any guesses to which airline has taken the 15 options?

14 Apr 2014

Total posts 46

Virgin Galatic :)


11 Jul 2014

Total posts 943

Hopefully one day Australia is just a short ferry ride away from the rest of the world

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1201

It's hard to get too excited about these sorts of pronouncements which seem to surface every year when the news cycle slows down.  

With advanced graphics, the pictures make it look like these planes are just around the corner but realistically they are probably 20 years away.  Even then it will rely on being able to develop the technology at a price that means tickets can be sold at a realistic price and both the OEM and airlines can still make a profit,

31 Mar 2014

Total posts 377

Very well said!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Apr 2012

Total posts 315

just like the high speed trains / pods / transport mechanisms between Sydney/Melb/Brisbane... >_<

24 Apr 2016

Total posts 23

I guess the only thing that they actually tackle is the slim long-haul market. Unlike concorde, the 45 seats would be way easier to fill.


17 Apr 2014

Total posts 10

I'm still waiting for Fireflash.

26 Jul 2015

Total posts 76

Skwashd, Fireflash was a great plane, but it seemed to draw a few sabotage incidents from memory. I think I'd only fly on it when International Rescue was up and running and ready to save it again.


12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1501

But for the same price what would you choose for say MEL-HKG flight - 4 hr in "modern old style business seats" or 9 hr in CX current business? I probably would go for 4 hr flight. But how about MEL-LAX? I definitely will go with 14 hr in fully flat bed vs 7 hr in seat. And I do expect that prices will be higher for "new Concorde".
Such plane will have very limited application in Australia and almost exclusively bound to New York - London/Paris route.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2551

For the same price, and all else being equal, I'd choose Boom – sure, the seat is a deep recliner rather than going fully-flat, but I'd suggest a lie-flat isn't needed for a four hour flight... so I'd rather pay the same amount and get to Hong Kong in four hours instead of eight.

13 May 2016

Total posts 13

Most people cope just fine travelling 14h in a normal economy seat... so 7h in some sort of luxury seat from MEL-LAX is a no brainer.... who cares if it isn't "lie flat". When people complain about seats that can't lie flat I wonder how they ever travelled 15+ years ago (or whenever it was the first lie flat seat came in). Seriously....


12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1501

No-one talking "can you survive", but instead "what would you prefer". My personal preference is no more than 4 hr without ability to stretch.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Aug 2014

Total posts 504

I've gotten sick of all this Australia-to-blank-in-less-than-x-hours talk by all the companies, they are just talking for the sake of it

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Oct 2014

Total posts 685

'Scholl predicts that Boom will succeed where Concorde eventually failed because developments in technology and lighter materials will translate into much cheaper tickets which will make supersonic travel affordable to the mainstream.'

Boom! There goes the argument. Given this (wonderful) technological development is aimed squarely at First and Business class travel, I highly doubt that this supersonic craft will ever be 'affordable to the mainstream'.

There is no truer aphorism that - even with current technology - airline ticket costs have fallen proportionately over the past 70 years.

In order to cater to the true First/Business market, a huge investment would be required by airlines to create a small fleet of such Boom aircraft. And, coincidentally to recoup costs, airlines would simply surcharge fares for the considerable savings in time on individual routes. Can you imagine CX or QF (or even VA) shelling out for a sub-fleet which carries approx. 40 pax?

Yes, you could offer twice as many daily SYD-HKG-SYD services, but at what cost? Slots, crew, maintenance etc all cost money.

Yes, I'd love to fly it for the superb experience that Concorde was. But hell, I'd be looking at the ticket and opportunity cost before anything .. for regular travel.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Oct 2016

Total posts 37

This is the saddest news ever for aviation, I love flying and this plane will ruin it. I hope long haul flying will still exist :(

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