JAL will collaborate with Boom to refine the design of the supersonic aircraft

Tokyo (AFP) - Japan Airlines said Tuesday it had invested $10 million in US airline company Boom Supersonic to help revive supersonic flights that could cut journey times in half.

The Japanese airline company will also have the option to buy up to 20 Boom aircraft through a pre-order arrangement.

The new-generation supersonic aircraft, scheduled to be launched in mid-2020s or later, has a maximum flying range of 8,334 kilometres (5,167 miles) at a speed of Mach 2.2 or 2,335 kilometres per hour.

If it takes off, it would be the first supersonic passenger aircraft since Concorde took its final flight in 2003.

The aim is to produce a “reliable, easily-maintained aircraft that will provide revolutionary speed to passengers,” said Blake Scholl, founder and CEO of Boom Supersonic.

On top of the “strategic” investment, JAL will collaborate with Boom to refine the aircraft design and help define the passenger experience for supersonic travel, JAL said.

The Denver-based firm in return will help JAL receive necessary permits from authorities and work together to promote the introduction of the aircraft.

“Through this partnership, we hope to contribute to the future of supersonic travel with the intent of providing more time to our valued passengers,” said JAL president Yoshiharu Ueki in a statement.

JAL received a government bailout after a high-profile bankruptcy restructuring in 2010. The carrier relisted on the Tokyo bourse two years later.