Is a Boom SST good business for Virgin Atlantic?

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

November 21, 2016, ©. Leeham Co: The emergence of Boom Technology and Virgin Atlantic’s plans to offer supersonic business class passenger traffic over the Atlantic is intriguing.

airplane-1

Figure 1. Boom Technologies Boom Mach 2.2 airliner with 45 seater. Source: Boom

Enough of the business plans and data around the aircraft are known to enable us to do a first economic analysis.

There will have to be a lot of assumptions in such an analysis but having modeled around 100 different airliner types economics’, we have some data to base our assumptions on.

We think the accuracy will be enough to get a first feel if the Virgin Atlantic venture is tight on margin or a slam dunk (should it become reality).

Summary:

  • The operating costs of a supersonic airliner will center on fuel and maintenance.
  • These costs will be considerably higher than for a normal widebody airliner.
  • The Virgin Atlantic venture targets the higher yield of a business passenger to cater for these costs.
  • We check if this is true and if a SST venture is good use of invested capital.

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