GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) – Boom Supersonic says the construction of its factory at Piedmont Triad International Airport is moving along on schedule.
Boom this week circulated some photographs and video showing progress on development on the 60-plus-acre site where it broke ground earlier this year to manufacture Overture, a supersonic transport jet that has been ordered by United, American and Japan airlines for scheduled service in 2029.
“Construction of the final assembly line is on track for completion in 2024,” Boom spokesperson Laura Wright wrote in response to emailed questions from WGHP. “The foundations are complete, decking is underway, and the team has begun erecting the steel trusses and beams that will serve as the backbone of the structure.”
In January, Boom and the PTI Airport Authority signed a formal partnership to develop the site with BE&K Construction. The plan includes $56.75 million from the state for a hangar and $15 million for site preparation.
The 81-page lease includes an option that expires on Dec. 31, 2030, for an additional airport expansion site. The Christman Company was hired in November to be the contract administrator, and numerous subcontracts are noted in the document.
Boom, which is based in Denver, received about $130 million in government incentives to invest $500 million to build Overture, for which there are 130 aircraft ordered or preordered, officials have said.
The company will hire 1,761 employees during the next five years at an average minimum annual salary of $68,000, and it is launching an apprentice program for students at North Carolina universities, colleges and technical schools.
The company calls the facility its “Superfactory,” and its plans call for an energy-efficient facility to build an aircraft that will fly on sustainable, carbon-neutral energy.
Boom has taken on three partners to design and build the engine it calls “Symphony,” and at the Paris Air Show earlier this year Boom announced agreements with companies that would provide the wings, the fuselage and the tail assembly.
“The first assembly line here at the Superfactory campus is designed to produce up to 33 aircraft per year,” Boom CEO Blake Scholl told media at the Paris Air Show earlier this year. “We have plans on this campus for a second assembly line, which will allow us to double production to a rate of 66 aircraft per year.
“Construction, as we sit here today, is well underway. It’s on track to be complete in the middle of next year.”
There have been plenty of skeptics, specifically because other companies, such as Aerion, have tried to resume supersonic air travel and failed to meet those goals. And well-known manufacturers such as Boeing only participate on the fringes.
Boom’s factory at PTI is on the north side of the main terminal and not far from Interstate 73. Boom says it first is building the assembly line, which will be 150,000 square feet, and there will be 24,000 square feet of office space.
The building, with its foundation and steel beams and trusses, is starting to look like a place where meaningful work could commence a year from now. The building is expected to be at least 40% more energy efficient than similar facilities, Boom said. High-efficiency components include “onsite carbon sequestration and zero-waste products.”
The Overture will use four of the Symphony engines to reach a speed of Mach 1.7, which is roughly 1,304.36 miles per hour. That’s slightly slower than the now-retired Concorde, which reached 1,350 miles, but it’s sufficient to get passengers from New York to London in 3.5 hours, the company says.
For comparison, the Boeing 737, one of the world’s best-selling airplanes, has a maximum speed is 588 mph with the 747 slightly faster at 614 mph.
Boom suggests that its jet will fly more than 600 “profitable routes” to destinations around the world, with a range of 4,250 nautical miles.
The “sustainable aviation fuel” is described by the U.S. Department of Energy as being made from “renewable biomass and waste resources,” which could be corn, algae or wood products.