It is time that we were flying on Supersonic aircraft


Aerion AS2 supersonic business jet.

By now we were meant to be flying between continents in hours. But as you have probably noticed, we are not.

Aerion formerly launched its supersonic business jet project at NBAA in 2004 ,saying it was looking for an OEM to partner with. Today, after a lot of work, it celebrating what they called the “ceremonial launch” of its partnership with Airbus.

Airbus and Aerion have agreed to partner on launching the aircraft. Airbus is not building the aircraft, but is providing technical and certification support. Aerion is now looking for an engine to power its aircraft, which it says will fly at Mach 1.4.

But just because supersonic aircraft gave not arrived yet, it does not mean that they never will. Rolland Vincent, creator of JetNetIQ, who analysed the market in 2004 – and again this year – believes demand is growing. “The market is definitely there,” says Vincent. “There are regulatory issues, but there is a definite niche there for supersonic aircraft.”

Aerion is still holding customer deposits from its first two-engine design and is now talking to them about its new aircraft. The list price for its aircraft is $110 million and Aerion believes there is demand for at least 600 supersonic aircraft. It hopes that its first flight could be in 2019.

In the last few years, we have seen OEMs increase the size of cabins and the range that aircraft can fly but we have not seen a major breakthrough in speed. Allan McArtor, CEO of Airbus Inc, is confident that it will happen. “It is overdue,” says McArtor. “We should be flying supersonic business jets by now.”