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Super-fast airline travel is coming … back again

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Super-fast airline travel is coming … back again

WATCH:  Did you know that the 2020 launch of supersonic passenger airliners will actually be a comeback?

A new aviation company called Boom plans to build supersonic passenger planes by the 2020s that will chop New York-to-London flights from seven hours to three.

Of course, not so long ago, we once had supersonic airliners. That's right.

The Concorde was introduced in 1976 and regularly flew passengers over the Atlantic at about twice the speed of today’s commercial planes. But in 2003, airline companies retired it, citing high cost mixed with declining ticket sales, which were on average $12,000 for a round-trip.

Concorde SST

The British assembled pre-production Concorde 01 taking to the air from Filton maiden flight, Dec. 17, 1971. (AP Photo)

The Concorde first took flight in 1969 and began flying passengers in 1976.

CONCORDE

A British Airways Concorde comes in for a landing at Boeing Field in Seattle, Wednesday, Nov 5, 2003. (AP Photo/Ron Wurzer)

British Airways and Air France were the only two airlines flying Concorde planes when the decision was made in 2003 to land the model for good.

So why does Boom think the super-fast flight is going to work this time? For one, the new supersonic plane Boom is promising will be cheaper to operate -- and by virtue, cheaper to fly on.

Rather than afterburner engines a la the Concorde, the Boom planes will use a faster version of the fuel-efficient engines from today's commercial aircraft. Swapping out the fire-spitting, rocket-like engines will cut supersonic New York-to-London flights to less than half the cost of what Concorde tickets were, Boom has said.

XB-1 and Boom

(Boom)

The 68-foot XB-1 "Baby Boom" (top) is Boom's first supersonic plane project and is expected to fly next year. The larger Boom airliner (below) will carry around 50 passengers and hit the skies in the mid-2020s.

And even as Boom promises to fly faster than the Concorde -- Mach 2.2 vs Mach 2 -- the company says its “sonic boom” will be gentler.

This could mean the laws in the U.S. that restrict flight faster than Mach 1 and kept the very loud Concorde from flying over land will change in the coming years and make supersonic airlines more than just a trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific business.

Hello, two-hour New York-to-San Francisco flight.

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