Despite its $80 million price tag, Aerion says demand for its supersonic business jet in emerging markets has led it to revise its sales forecasts upwards from 300 aircraft over 10 years - assuming it remains the only player in the market.

The Nevada-based start-up said at EBACE it had received more than 40 letters of intent for the super-mid-size jet, backed up with refundable $250,000 deposits, including from the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East and South America.

"Just two and a half years ago our research indicated a market for 300 supersonic jets over 10 years," says Aerion vice-chairman Brian Barents, "but that survey did not even include demand from countries such as India, China and Russia. If anything, we have underestimated global demand."

The company is still tight-lipped about its negotiations with airframers and systems suppliers about a deal to certificate and manufacture the aircraft, although it has an agreement with Pratt & Whitney, which will see a new variant of the JT8D-219 engine power the aircraft.

Aerion hopes to seal a deal with an original equipment manufacturer by the end of the year, leading to certification in 2014.

EBACE 2008: News, videos and images

Source: Flight International