GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) – Officials stayed away from the mud and reminisced about the cold, but dirt was ceremonially moved Thursday at Piedmont Triad International Airport to celebrate the construction of Boom Supersonic’s “superfactory.”

Boom President Kathy Savitt flew in from the headquarters in Denver almost exactly 365 days after she had led the announcement that Boom, the upstart that plans to launch supersonic commercial jetliners, had chosen PTI as the place to build its future.

Wielding the shiny shovels for the Boom “groundbreaking” at Piedmont Triad International Aiport are (from left) PTI Executive Director Kevin Baker, state Sen. Leader Phil Berger, Gov. Roy Cooper, Boom President Kathy Savitt, NC Commerce Chief Deputy Secretary Jordan Whichard and PTI Airport Authority Board Chair Paul Mengert (WGHP)

Gov. Roy Cooper, Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Eden) and a passel of elected leaders returned to the scene. This time the ceremony was indoors, and conditions were much more tolerable than standing under portable heaters in 30-degree chill.

“It’s a little warmer this year,” PTI Executive Director Kevin Baker told the crowd. “Last year I wore gloves.”

Boom President Kathy Savitt (WGHP)

Baker said the rain prevented everyone from being onsite, so officials brought a trench of dirt – we would presume from the grading on Boom’s parcel – for a series of shiny-shovel photos with Baker, Savitt and two rounds of dignitaries. The announcement may have been groundbreaking, but there was no real ground being broken.

“Step out that door,” Baker said pointing across the room. “The site is right there [he pointed more or less northwest]. …. The two flagpoles over there frame the site.”

Said Savitt: “I’m coming back in two months. I want to see sticks in the ground.”

She was there speaking for CEO Blake Scholl, and she repeated the reasons Boom chose PTI as the place to build its Overture jet, which is planned to carry passengers by 2029: workforce, education and North Carolina’s growth in the aeronautic sector.

She then delineated the milestones and deals that Boom had announced in the succeeding 12 months, starting with the final design of the Overture and various partnerships and agreements, from carbon-neutral fuel suppliers to development partnerships, to new contracts for commercial and military planes, to the designer and contractor who will build the superfactory.

That culminated with a visit last month by Scholl to announce a 4-company partnership arrangement to develop the engine for Overture, Symphony, which would operate on sustainable fuel.

“You mentioned the Symphony engine,” Cooper told Savitt. “Just know that we are open to making them for you here in North Carolina.” (Everyone chuckled.) “She has heard that.”

Orders for 130 aircraft

Boom, which is based in Denver, received about $130 million in government incentives to invest $500 million to build Overture, its supersonic, transcontinental passenger jet.

American Airlines and the U.S. Air Force via Northrup Grumman this year joined United Airlines and Japan Airlines as customers for Boom. There are orders and preorders for 130 aircraft, Savitt said Thursday.

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.

PTIA Board Chair Paul Mengert (WGHP)

Where things stand

With the site graded and the dirt turned way beyond those shiny shovels, Boom has hired BE&K Construction to do the construction and BRPH to “design and build our beautiful and soon-to-be-built building,” Savitt said.

PTI Airport Authority Chair Paul Mengert told the crowd how this week he had signed a 40-year lease for those 62 acres and an option on another similarly sized parcel. Site maps show two hangars that will be built on the original parcel, and there is a construction plan for a cross-grounds taxiway that could link up to the airport’s taxiway across Interstate 73.

The site map that was included in Boom’s lease with PTIA. (PTIA)

“We will have the final assembly line, the test facility and the first customer delivery center on the planet,” Savitt said.

Boom’s leased site at Piedmont Triad International Airport (PTIA)

She repeated that the company will start to produce Overture next year, with assembly in 2025, rollout in 2026 and certification in 2029, to carry the first passengers.”

She said the company would employ more than 2,400 by 2032 and later this year kick off the internship program for more than 200 through 2032. She said the facility will “add $32.3 billion to the state’s economy over the next 20 years.

“To succeed,” she said, “we need people, communities and companies to help us.”

About Overture

The latest conception of the Overture from Boom.

The Overture will use four of the Symphony engines to reach a speed of Mach 1.7, which is roughly 1304.36 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.

Boom suggests that its jet will fly more than 500 routes to destinations around the world, with a range of 4,888 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.