Established in 2003, Aerion persisted over the years, and even attracted financing and partnerships with Boeing, GE Aviation, and the Berkshire Hathaway-owned fractional operator NetJets, which ordered 20 AS2s.
All seemed to be on track for the AS2 project. The $120 million airplane would have technology that would let it fly as fast as Mach 1.4 without producing a sonic boom. There was an $11.2 billion sales backlog. Plans for a 50-seat follow-on model—a 7,000-nautical-mile, Mach 4 airliner dubbed the AS3—were recently announced. So was a 100-acre, $375 million manufacturing plant that would add 675 employees and be built at the Melbourne International Airport in Florida. The goal was for the AS2 to have its first flight in 2024.
But Aerion couldn’t raise enough money to begin producing the AS2. In a statement, the company said, “In the current financial environment, it has proven hugely challenging to close on the scheduled and necessary large new capital requirements… Aerion Corporation is now taking the appropriate steps in consideration of this ongoing financial environment.”
This leaves Boom Supersonic as the remaining contender in the civilian supersonic market. Boom’s XB–1 supersonic demonstrator is set for its first flight this year. Boom’s Overture, a $200 million supersonic airliner, is in a program involving five flight test aircraft. Rollout is expected in 2025, with type certification anticipated in 2029.