In today’s press conference between President Trump and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Conte appeared to cite supersonic transport as a key area for partnership between Italy and the United States. A final transcript has yet to be produced, however, I was able to transcribe the key moment from the Youtube video stream, linked below:
“I personally am sure we can increase and improve the relationship with the United States at all levels, and in particular in the space and aerospace fields. We already have a great partnership between the Italian space agency and NASA, so we hope that aerospace will bring together American technology and Italian Technology so that we can launch new aircraft that cross the atmosphere and that will be able to bring the United States and Italy together in an hour and a half. This is a project that I would like to speak in detail with the American administration.”
Of course, to go from Italy to the United States in only 1.5 hours is more than supersonic — it’s hypersonic. But I chalk that up to a misstatement. Realistically, supersonic transport will cut the flight from Dulles to Rome down from 9 hours to just 4 hours and 15 minutes. As I argued in the National Review vis-à-vis supersonic travel between the U.S. and UK, faster speeds have a huge potential for closing trade gaps between distant countries by helping link social networks. The same holds true for Italy:
…affordable supersonic flight will have major implications for generating new U.K. and U.S. export relationships. With a cruising speed 2.2 times the speed of sound, commercial supersonic transportation will cut the seven-hour journey from New York to London (and hundreds of other routes) by more than half, helping entrepreneurs on both sides of the Atlantic break into established business networks and have the face-to-face meetings that build bilateral trust.
You can find the video below to listen for yourself at the 13m15s mark: