In Brief

Faster than Concorde: fly from London to New York in just 90 minutes

Virgin Galactic reveals designs of 2,300mph supersonic jet

Move over Concorde, Virgin Galactic is aiming to shatter the icon’s transatlantic airline record for fastest flight time between London and New York.

The spaceflight company has revealed the first designs of a Mach 3 supersonic passenger jet and announced a collaboration with Rolls-Royce to develop engine propulsion technology for the high-speed commercial aircraft.

Although still in the early concept stages, the jet is intended to reach speeds of around 2,300mph (Mach 3) - three times the speed of sound. 

In February 1996, a British Airways Concorde flew from New York to London in two hours, 52 minutes, 59 seconds - averaging speeds of 1,250mph. 

But as CNBC reports, the Virgin Galactic jet’s supersonic speed could see flights between London and New York take just 90 minutes, while trips from London to Sydney could be completed in five hours.

Virgin Galactic

George Whitesides, chief space officer at Virgin Galactic, said: “We are excited to complete the Mission Concept Review and unveil this initial design concept of a high speed aircraft, which we envision as blending safe and reliable commercial travel with an unrivalled customer experience.

“We are pleased to collaborate with the innovative team at Rolls-Royce as we strive to develop sustainable, cutting-edge propulsion systems for the aircraft, and we are pleased to be working with the FAA to ensure our designs can make a practical impact from the start. We have made great progress so far, and we look forward to opening up a new frontier in high-speed travel.”

Virgin Galactic says the Mach 3 certified delta-wing aircraft will fly at an altitude of more than 60,000ft.

It will have capacity for between nine and 19 passengers, and custom cabin layouts will be incorporated, including business or first class seating.

Virgin Galactic

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