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Airport Technology – January 23, 2020 – Sonic boom: do airports need to prepare for the supersonic revolution?

Posted on May 18, 2020

Article – Sonic boom: do airports need to prepare for the supersonic revolution?    By Julian Turner

Document  – ACI Reintroduction of Supersonics Working Paper

Airports Council International wants to fast-track new standards and practices to regulate supersonic aircraft, which are expected to be reintroduced in 2023. University of Salford senior lecturer in aerodynamics and aircraft performance at the University of Salford Phil Atcliffe discusses the key issues.

For those old enough to remember – and who lived under a flight path – the sound of Concorde passing overhead was an unforgettable experience, as if the fabric of the sky had been rent asunder.

Thirty years after its first transatlantic crossing in 1973 (Concorde entered regular service in 1976), the world’s first supersonic commercial passenger jet was retired in the wake of the Air France Flight 4590 disaster in 2000, which killed 113 people – and, with that, supersonic passenger travel ended.

Fast forward to January of this year, when a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner owned by Norwegian made the 3,470-mile trip from New York’s JFK airport to London Gatwick in five hours and 13 minutes, a new journey speed record. In doing so, it became the fastest subsonic plane to traverse the Atlantic.

However, the Dreamliner did not break the sound barrier (Mach 1, 767mph) during its historic flight; the feat was possible thanks to …


… In October, Airports Council International (ACI) called upon the International Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to fast-track its development of new standards and practices to regulate supersonic aircraft.

Speaking to coincide with the publication the ACI Reintroduction of Supersonics paper, ACI World director general Angela Gittens outlined the organisation’s stance on a key issue: noise reduction.

“In order to be integrated into the commercial aviation ecosystem, supersonic aircraft must not be noisier than …

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