These Are the Fastest Passenger Planes Ever Built

These Are the Fastest Passenger Planes Ever Built

Most airlines today seem primarily concerned with how many fare-paying passengers can be stuffed onto every flight. However, there is a renewed appetite for supersonic aircraft across the industry. Airlines have been hedging their bets by placing orders with Boom Supersonic for new planes to operate first-class-only services. With that in mind, let’s look at the fastest planes ever to grace the skies for any airline.

Convair 880 – 600 mph

Entering service in 1960, the Convair 880 was the most prominent speed-seeking symbol of the era. The jet airliner had a cruising speed of 600 miles per hour. The Convair’s name actually stems from its speed, 880 feet per second.

Photo: Collection Bernard Crochet/Photo12/Universal Images Group (Getty Images)

Convair 990 – 644 mph

The Convair 990 was the longer and even faster variant of the 880. The upgraded jet was made specifically for American Airlines. While the 990 was the fastest commercial airliner in the world, it didn’t meet the speed target promised to American Airlines.

Photo: Milou Steiner/RDB/ullstein bild (Getty Images)

Boeing 747-400 – 656 mph

The Boeing 747 would first take to the skies for airlines in 1970. The jumbo jet signalled a gradual transition in commercial aviation away from extremely fast luxury services towards affordable, mass travel. An upgraded version of Boeing’s massive airliner, the 747-400, eventually surpassed the Convair in the late 1980s.

Photo: Images Group (Getty Images)

Boeing 777 – 683 mph

The 747 couldn’t realistically service every route. The Boeing 777 was introduced in 1995 to serve as the widebody workhorse for airlines around the world. The modern airliner was the first Boeing to use electronic fly-by-wire controls and carbon composite materials.

Photo: Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto (Getty Images)

Airbus A380 – 683 mph

Airbus committed to a full double-decker concept with the A380 to rival the 747. The European superjumbo entered service in 2007 but could be completely absent from the skies by 2037. While the size and seating capacity caused its downfall, it never lacked speed compared to its competition.

Photo: Robert Smith/MI News/NurPhoto (Getty Images)

Boeing 787 Dreamliner – 690 mph

The Boeing 787 has proven to be the airline’s vision of the future. It’s an airliner that basically sips fuel while having enough range to connect most airports. Fuel efficiency might be the Dreamliner’s main priority, but it can go fast when it needs to.

Photo: Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto (Getty Images)

Boeing 747-8I – 706 mph

The most recent iteration of the Boeing 747 is only used by a handful of carriers, but the intercontinental long-hauler features a modern cabin interior and better fuel efficiency. The better efficiency came with the added benefit of a higher top speed. The 747 can now go faster than 700 miles per hour.

Photo: Britta Pedersen/picture alliance (Getty Images)

Aérospatiale-BAC Concorde – 1,350 mph

For many, the Concorde remains the pinnacle for passenger aircraft. The supersonic airliner entered service in 1976 with both Air France and British Airways after being jointly developed in France and the United Kingdom. During its time in the skies, it was rivaled by only one other aircraft.

Photo: Pascal Pavani / AFP (Getty Images)

Tupolev Tu-144 – 1,510 mph

The Soviet Union developed its own supersonic airliner, the Tupolev Tu-114, which entered passenger service with Aeroflot in November 1977. The Tu-144 was retired from passenger flights only seven months later after a pre-delivery test crash for a new airframe. NASA used a Tu-144 as a testbed in the 1990s for the next generation of supersonic airliners.

Photo: NASA Dryden Flight Research Center

Honourable Mention: Boom Overture – Possibly 1,100 mph

There hasn’t been a new supersonic airliner since Concorde’s retirement in 2003. The Boom Overture is the most realistic contender to revive passenger flights faster than the speed of sound. United Airlines and American Airlines have both placed orders for 35 Overtures with options for 75 more.

Image: Boom Supersonic

Image: Hugh Thomas/BWP Media

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