This is very likely a misprint.
The sentence as written is not grammatical. The most likely fix is that there is a missing word before "speeds". Good candidates for the missing word are "achieve" or "reach" or various synonyms.
This would make "speeds" not a present tense verb but a plural noun.
"Speeds of up to..." is a very common noun phrase.
There are other less likely solutions, which require more changes, such as "was able to speed [along at] up to three times [the speed of] passenger planes today.