Boeing is trying to make long-haul flights a thing of the past. At the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Aviation conference this week, Boeing revealed a design for a new passenger hypersonic vehicle that could cross the Atlantic Ocean in two hours. Hypersonic makes supersonic look like paint drying. While supersonic reaches the speed of sound (flying at Mach 1), hypersonic blows it out of the water, exceeding Mach 5 — flying at just under 3,900 miles per hour, at an altitude of 95,000 feet.
A spokesperson for Boeing told Travel + Leisure that Mach 5 would make it possible to reach most locations on Earth in one to three hours. But don’t start making your hypersonic travel plans just yet. Boeing’s timeline for hypersonic planes doesn’t put them in the air until around 2040. Exploring this future technology, however, is useful for developing innovations in the short-term. “By looking decades ahead at what could be possible,” Boeing’s chief hypersonic scientist, Kevin Bowcutt, told Travel + Leisure, “we are smarter about what innovations and technologies we should be exploring now.”
Boeing is joined in their quest for faster air travel by the Aerion Corporation, who is developing a supersonic business jet capable of reaching Mach 1.5, and NASA, who is working on supersonic jets that could be in the air as soon as 2021.