Fractional aircraft ownership company NetJets has thrown its support behind Aerion’s AS2, acquiring rights to purchase 20 of the in-development business jets.
The deal is part of a broader memorandum of understanding between NetJets, aviation training company FlightSafety International and Aerion. NetJets and FlightSafety are owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.
“We will be exploring the integration of the AS2 supersonic business jet into NetJets’ global network,” says NetJets chief executive Adam Johnson on 3 March.
Reno-based Aerion intends to begin producing AS2s in 2023 at a new manufacturing site in Melbourne, Florida. It aims for first flight in 2024 and service entry by 2026.
Powered by triple 20,000lb-thrust-class (89kN) GE Aviation engines, AS2 will carry 10 passengers and have 4,200nm (7,780km), Aerion has said.
“The new AS2… continues to advance toward manufacturing start after concluding wind-tunnel validation late last year,” says Aerion, which now values its AS2 backlog at more than $10 billion.
The memorandum of understanding also calls for the companies to “explore NetJets becoming the exclusive business jet operator” to participate in “Aerion Connect”, an envisioned travel network.
“Aerion Connect will integrate multiple, currently siloed urban and regional networks and provide a seamless point-to-point travel experience, optimised for speed and luxury across multiple modes of transportation,” the companies say.
NetJets’ current fleet includes some 760 aircraft.
The agreement also calls for Aerion to work with Melville, New York-based FlightSafety to “develop a supersonic flight training academy for civil, commercial and military supersonic aircraft”.
“The Aerion-branded facility will channel [FlightSafety’s] comprehensive global training expertise to provide a centre of excellence for supersonic flight training and education,” the companies say.