FARNBOROUGH, England—Fifteen years after the Concorde last flew, supersonic air travel is back in the aerospace industry’s sights.
Investors, plane makers and equipment suppliers are pushing to revive superfast airliners and business jets. The big questions: Will regulators go along, and will passengers be willing to pay? The Concorde was an economic failure.
The latest efforts, highlighted by exhibits and discussions at the international air show here, reflect support from major aerospace companies, buttressed by promising research into reducing the sonic boom that occurs when planes exceed the speed of sound.
Backers include Boeing Co. BA, +0.22% , Lockheed Martin Corp. LMT, -0.49% and closely held Colorado startup Boom Technology Inc., which aims to start flying a reduced-size demonstration craft late next year. An initial goal for Boom’s proposed airliner is to slash the time for transcontinental trips by more than half. Round trips between the U.S. West Coast and Asia could be completed within the same day, for business travelers—the plush cabins would offer only premium seats—in a real hurry.
“This was the future we were all promised,” said Steven Isakowitz, president of Aerospace Corp., a nonprofit think tank for the Pentagon. In an interview earlier this month he cited both technical advances and “extremely interesting” NASA research into reducing the shock wave and noise.
An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.
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