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A conceptual render of Boom Supersonic's commercial supersonic jet with United Airlines livery. Photo: Boom Supersonic

United Airlines announced Thursday it will purchase 15 supersonic jets from aviation startup Boom Supersonic, and will have the option to purchase 35 more in the future, in an attempt to revitalize supersonic air travel.

Why it matters: Supersonic commercial flights haven't been available since the Concorde, operated by British Airways, completed its last trip between New York and London in 2003, according to the New York Times.

Context: Boom Supersonic's commercial supersonic jet, the Overture, has not yet been built and still has to get approval from the Federal Aviation Administration and other regulatory agencies around the world before it can fly.

  • The company hopes the aircraft will have its first flight in 2026 and will begin carrying passengers by 2029.
  • The Concorde stopped flying largely because of high costs, safety concerns, flagging demand and noise concerns, according to the Times.

Thought bubble, from Axios Transportation Correspondent Joann Muller: The return of supersonic flight still faces enormous challenges, as evidenced by the recent collapse of one of the sector's leading companies, Aerion Supersonic.

  • But United seems intent on investing in cleaner forms of aviation, including Archer Aviation, an electric air taxi startup.

What they're saying: "Boom's vision for the future of commercial aviation, combined with the industry's most robust route network in the world, will give business and leisure travelers access to a stellar flight experience," United CEO Scott Kirby said in a statement.

  • "At speeds twice as fast, United passengers will experience all the advantages of life lived in person, from deeper, more productive business relationships to longer, more relaxing vacations to far-off destinations," Boom Supersonic CEO Blake Scholl said.

The big picture: Boom Supersonic believes it can develop a more efficient and quieter engine than those used in the past. It will run on sustainable aviation fuel derived from organic matter.

  • The company said the aircraft will be capable of traveling at speeds of Mach 1.7, twice that of today's fastest airliners, while carrying between 65 to 88 passengers at 60,000 feet and will have a range of 4,888 miles.

Go deeper: Supersonic travel is about to make a comeback

Go deeper

CCP releases two jailed Canadians after Huawei CFO deal with DOJ

Photo: Sheldon Cooper/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Two Canadians imprisoned by the Chinese government for over 1,000 days have been released and are expected to arrive in Canada on Saturday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday.

Why it matters: Their release comes hours after Huawei Technologies CFO Meng Wanzhou reached a deal with the U.S. Department of Justice that resolves the criminal charges against her and could pave the way for her to return to China.

Updated 17 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Arizona GOP's private recount of 2020 election confirms Biden's win

Contractors working on behalf of the GOP examine and recount 2020 ballots at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix in May. Photo: Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images

In an odd coda to the 2020 election, private contractors conducting a GOP-commissioned recount in Arizona confirmed President Biden’s win in Maricopa County.

Why it matters: The unofficial, party-driven recount has been heavily covered on cable news as part of former President Trump's continued effort to sow doubt about the election result.

Del Rio bridge camp empty following Haitian migrant surge

A boy bathes himself in a jug of water inside a migrant camp at the U.S.-Mexico border on Sept. 21 in Del Rio, Texas. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

The last migrants camping under the Del Rio International Bridge, which connects Texas and Mexico, departed on Friday, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced during a White House press briefing.

Driving the news: Thousands of migrants, mostly from Haiti, had arrived to the makeshift camp after crossing the southern border seeking asylum. Roughly 1,800 migrants will now head to U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing centers.