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Supersonic flight is lifting off this year and could be commercial by 2023

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Engines are ready for a 3.5-hour flight from London to New York City.

Boom Supersonic, the airplane startup backed by Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, began building a miniature Concorde-style passenger plane last March that will seat 55 people and fly at 1,451mph — the top speed of a Boeing 747 is currently a little over 600mph.

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This high-speed aircraft is dubbed the Baby Boom (after originally nicknamed the mini Concorde).

Blake Scholl, Boom Supersonic’s chief executive, said this week they are one step closer to reaching the skies: “Milestone coming up: XB-1 engines are on a truck and will arrive at @boomaero hangar within a week.”

Milestone coming up: XB-1 engines are on a truck and will arrive at @boomaero hangar within a week

— Blake Scholl (@bscholl) March 20, 2018

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The first test flight is expected to happen before the end of this year, and if it is successful, express trips across the Atlantic could start as soon as 2023. Japan Airlines and Virgin Galactic have already signed on to operate Baby Booms, and reports suggest that five additional airlines are interested in adding these supersonic aircrafts to their fleets as well.

Scholl previously said that he could envision the Baby Boom servicing about 500 routes, including cutting the 15-hour flight from Los Angeles to Sydney into only six.

“Think about the trips not taken, because when you add up the lost hours, the trip just doesn’t feel worth it,” Scholl said while revealing details of the aircraft.

“You won’t have to be on the Forbes’ list to be able to fly — it will cost about the same as flying business class today. The ultimate goal is to make supersonic affordable for anyone who flies.”

Ticket estimates are projected for as much as £1,700.

Read more: Here's what Richard Branson's upgrade of the Concorde looks like

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