At speeds of Mach 5—or 3,800 miles per hour—transatlantic flights would take just two hours instead of the current seven.
Boeing recently announced that it is working on its first hypersonic passenger jet that would be capable of crossing the Atlantic in two hours and the Pacific in three, Aviation Week reports. The concept plane, which were unveiled at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics conference in Atlanta on June 26, could be used for either military or commercial purposes.
While Boeing wasn’t able to say exactly when it’d be able to make hypersonic flights a reality, Kevin Bowcutt, Boeing’s senior technical fellow and chief scientist of hypersonics, believes it’s possible they could get a hypersonic passenger jet airborne within 20 to 30 years.
“We’re excited about the potential of hypersonic technology to connect the world faster than ever before,” Bowcutt said in a statement released on Boeing's website. “Boeing is building upon a foundation of six decades of work designing, developing and flying experimental hypersonic vehicles, which makes us the right company to lead the effort in bringing this technology to market in the future.”
We just revealed a new hypersonic vehicle concept @AIAA Aviation – a— Dennis A. Muilenburg (@BoeingCEO) June 26, 2018
concept that one day could redefine aviation and connect the world faster than
ever before. What do you think? https://t.co/AvsNlc7aLf pic.twitter.com/P5nbxGnlOd
The hypersonic jet would fly at Mach 5—five times the speed of sound or 3,800 miles per hour—which would cut the roughly seven-hour flight from New York to London to just two hours and the Los Angeles–Tokyo flight from around 11 hours to three.
According to Aviation Week, Boeing’s new concept jet would travel 2.5 times the speed and 30,000 feet higher than the Concorde, which flew between New York and London in just over three hours before being retired in 2003.
Boeing isn’t the only aeronautical company that is working on ways to make commercial air travel even faster. Both SpaceX and Virgin Galactic have plans to adapt their rockets for ultra-fast transport between cities on our planet. Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX, claimed in 2017 that his rockets could eventually get people “anywhere on Earth in under an hour.” However, he did not provide any details about when this could happen or how much it would cost.