Aerion abandons the supersonic race

Aerion Supersonic abruptly announced it would cease its activities for lack of funding to develop its Aerion AS2 supersonic business jet project.

For 18 years, the Nevada-based company had been working on developing a successor to the Concorde. Its main development was the AS2 business jet, an aircraft capable of carrying 12 passengers at a speed of Mach 1.4 (about 1,700 kilometers per hour) over 7,780 kilometers (4,200 nautical miles). It was hoping for the aircraft to take to the skies in 2024. In November 2020, the AS2 completed wind tunnel testing at the ONERA facility in Modane, France.

In March 2021, Aerion signed a Memorandum of Understanding with business jet operator NetJets, a subsidiary of Warren Buffet’s conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway, to acquire 20 of their AS2 supersonic business jets. The deal boosted Aerion’s backlog to 300 aircraft, worth over $10 billion, the company counted at the time. 

Also in March 2021, Aerion unveiled the AS3, its second jet, capable of reaching Mach 4 and carrying up to 50 passengers inside. 

The company had partnered several times with NASA, as well as other major manufacturers such as Boeing, Safran, General Electric, among others.

However, lack of funding seemingly got the best of the supersonic dream. 

“In the current financial environment, it has proven hugely challenging to close on the scheduled and necessary large new capital requirements to finalize the transition of the AS2 into production,” Aerion reported.

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