Boeing and Spirit withdraw engineers from Aerion AS2 supersonic business jet


The “long business” of supersonic business jet development can wait one or two more years, according to Richard Aboulafia, Vice President, Analysis, Teal Group Corporation.

Referring to the announcement that Boeing and Spirit Aerosystems are dismantling their engineering teams assisting development of Aerion’s AS2 project, Aboulafia told Corporate Jet Investor: “If you look at the long history of SSBJ [supersonic business jet] concepts and Aerion, ironically, time ceases to have any meaning.”

Aerion recently announced its first flight of the AS2, due in 2024, had been delayed until 2025. Aboulafia said the idea of a supersonic business jet has been around for years, indicating that any extra time required in development would not come as a surprise.

“The idea has been around for decades, as has Aerion. They’ve attempted to work with Airbus and Lockheed Martin. Boeing is more promising, but hardly a guarantee of success. And many other companies have looked at the concept too. One or two years won’t matter. In other words, either this works or it doesn’t. We’ll see.”

Nicolas Jouan, aerospace and defence analyst, GlobalData, offered his view on the announcement: “Boeing and Spirit Aerosystem’s decision to seemingly abandon their Aerion AS2 supersonic business jet programme may be hasty, as even if commercial airlines suffer from a lack of demand from the general population of travellers, it is likely that high-end business travel will recover as soon as the global economy restarts. Supersonic business jets, unbothered by new social distancing regulations and cheap oil prices, could be a rare glimpse of hope in the commercial aviation industry.”