Boom Supersonic, which is developing ultra-fast airplanes it believes will lead the return of commercial supersonic flights, has picked Greensboro, N.C. to build and test those planes.
The plant, which is expected to employ 1,250 by the end of the decade, is the latest example of a new aviation manufacturing facility being built in the Southeast. In the last 11 years, Boeing and Airbus have established new final assembly plants in North Charleston, South Carolina and Mobile, Alabama respectively.
“This is the right choice for us and we couldn’t be more excited,” Blake Scholl, founder and CEO of Boom Supersonic told CNBC. “Greensboro brings a significant, local skilled labor population and there are more than two hundred aerospace suppliers in the state. Many will be key suppliers for The Overture.”
The Overture is Boom’s first commercial supersonic plane. The company plans to start building the plane in 2024 with the first one rolling off the line in 2025 and the first test flight in 2026. If all goes as planned, Boom expects its first supersonic jet to enter commercial service by 2029.
One of North Carolina’s state slogans, First in Flight, pays tribute to the Wright Brothers making the first successful flight at Kitty Hawk. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper acknowledged the state’s heritage in a release announcing the Boom plant. ”It is both poetic and logical that Boom Supersonic would choose the state that’s first in flight for its first manufacturing plant,” he said.
While Boom is based in Denver, Colo. and will continue designing aircraft at its headquarters, establishing a final assembly in Greensboro is a strategic move to help with development of The Overture. The plant will be just a short distance from the Atlantic coast.
“The proximity to the ocean is an important factor,” said Scholl. “The vast majority of our flight tests will be over the water, where the plane can speed up so there is not a sonic boom over populated areas.”
Boom says the Overture will fly at a top speed of mach 1.7, approximately 1,300 miles per hour, allowing it to shave hours off of some of the longest international flights. For example, Boom says The Overture will fly from Tokyo to Seattle in four-and-a-half-hours, instead of the typical flight time of eight-and-a-half-hours. United Airlines has ordered 15 Overture supersonic planes.
CNBC’s Meghan Reeder contributed to the report