By Codelia Mantsebo
The Aerion AS2 is the world’s first supersonic private jet expected to enter service in 2023. Priced at $120 million the supersonic jet is set to cut down a trip from LA to Sydney to less than 10 hours in total.
The supersonic-jet maker Aerion recently announced that the flight-service provider Flexjet has placed a firm order for 20 models of the Aerion AS2 supersonic jet, for a total order potential of $2.4 billion. While Aerion started taking orders last year, Flexjet is the first fleet operator for the plane. The flight-service provider will be first to have a supersonic jet publically available since commercial supersonic travel ended in 2003.
According to Aerion, the AS2 will accommodate 8 to 12 passengers in a 30-foot-long cabin. It is expected to get passengers to their destination at remarkable speeds of up to Mach 1.5 (990 mph) — which is 67% faster than the top cruise speeds of current or anticipated long-range subsonic jets, Aerion said. With a range of up to 5,466 miles, the AS2 cuts transatlantic journey time by 3 hours and condenses trans-Pacific routes by 6 hours or more. Aerion says for busy international travelers, all that extra speed quickly adds up to more productive days and even weeks over the course of a year. Flexjet chairman Kenn Ricci called the airplane a “potential game changer for business travel.” The two companies will work together to design a custom, premium cabin interior for the Flexjet fleet.
Aerion also announced that its partnership with Airbus Group has grown, and the company is now looking for a site to build a manufacturing facility. Airbus will broaden the resources it is contributing to the program, which include engineering, logistics planning, and management support.
“The farther we proceed along the development path with Aerion, the greater our enthusiasm for this program and the deeper our commitment,” says Allan McArtor, chairman and CEO of Airbus Group. “Under our new agreement, our two companies are working as one, to bring Aerion’s supersonic AS2 to the business-jet market.”
The first flight with an Aerion AS2 is expected in 2021, while deliveries to Flexjet and other buyers will start in 2023