Companies get to know firsthand the challenges of building quiet supersonic jets. Both Florida Today and CNBC report that Aerion Supersonic is suddenly shutting down. The budding manufacturer of quiet supersonic business jets said it had problems securing funding in the “current financial environment” and had taken “appropriate steps” given the situation.
The company had turned its attention to the AS2, which was billed as the first privately designed supersonic business jet. It was supposed to travel at over 1,000 MPH without the sonic booms and cabin noises that plagued planes like the Concorde. It should fly by 2024 and be in service by 2026. Aerion has had a number of high profile partners, including Boeing and GE, and was commended by the Florida governor when it unveiled plans to build a factory at Orlando Melbourne International Airport.
Aerion did not say what would happen to the company’s assets after the shutdown. The company had only advertised new developments at the end of April.
This is not the end of supersonic private air travel. Boom Supersonic is still developing its overture airliner with hopes of passenger flights by 2029.
However, it’s not a surprising result either. Aircraft design is inherently expensive, and this is especially true of cutting-edge technology like this one – Aerion said AS2 would cost $ 4 billion to develop. And while the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be easing, air travel is a far cry from any investment between public reluctance and companies that are increasingly working from home. The audience for these jets just isn’t as big as it was a few years ago, and it may be a while longer.
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