These fastest commercial passenger planes in the world today will ensure that you arrive at your destination in the speediest possible way.
At one moment in aviation history, it seemed certain that supersonic was the future of commercial passenger planes. Supersonic transport aircraft (SST) were considered the top of the line in passenger transportation and several of them were being developed in the late 1960s and 1970s. Only two SSTs, however, saw active service, Tupolev Tu-144, and much more famous Concorde. The Soviets flew first, two months before the Anglo-French plane. Two planes were so similar that Western press nicknamed Tu-155 “Concordski” and there was plenty of rumors about KGB’s involvement in industrial espionage. Tu-144 had a very short history, due to many problems it experienced, including the one that led to 1973 Paris Air Show crash, which killed 14 people (crew of six and eight people on the ground). In 1978 another crash sealed the fate of the Concordski. Aeroflot withdrew all remaining planes from active service the following year.
The British and French partnership was more successful, as far as those partnerships go. Concorde went on to serve until 2003 when the last one was finally grounded. Similar to its Soviet counterpart, it was a crash that ended its career. Air France Flight 4590 had an accident during the takeoff, which resulted in 113 people killed.
What killed SSTs around the world was the economy. The oil crisis that rocked the world in 1970 persuaded airline companies to seek planes that were primarily cheap to operate. Neither of the SST was in that category, by any stretch of the imagination and the operating costs for Concorde were astronomical, which led to equally outrageous ticket prices. Americans also had plans for SST, but after huge amounts of money sunk into the program, it got canceled, unlike the projects that led to 10 Fastest US Air Force Fighter Planes. As technology progressed, the airlines were being able to provide more and more amenities on their flights and comfort became more important than speed. After all, if you can spend your flight connected to the Internet and enjoying quality entertainment, there’s not much need for hurry. The supersonic speeds remained reserved for military jets.
Technological progress also led to far more economical engines, which offers a glimpse of hope for Supersonic transport aircraft. Currently, there are several projects that hope to bring supersonic jets back as commercial passenger planes. A Denver-based startup called Boom (admittedly, not the most fortunate name for the aircraft manufacturer) is currently working on a project promising to produce a Mach 2.2 commercial passenger plane. It will be almost 100 mph faster than Concorde, but with less room (40 passengers, opposed to 100 that its predecessor had. There are even plans for the return of Concorde into active service, with a price label of mere £160 million (roughly $200 million).
In order to create the list of 11 fastest commercial passenger planes in the world today, we started at Modern Airliners. We excluded all smaller planes, typically designated under a business jet label since they aren’t airliners and a majority of us won’t get a chance to fly in them. Then we ran into a dilemma. Do we rank them according to the maximum or cruising speed? After some pondering, it was decided that maximal speed doesn’t really matter, since commercial passenger planes rarely, if ever, use it. Instead, we opted for cruising speed, which represents the speed at which an airliner can fly as fast as possible and still remain economically viable and safe. The data on speed came from Flugzeug Info Aircraft Encyclopedia, as well as manufacturers’ websites. Here is the list of fastest commercial passenger planes in the world today.