Fractional jet supplier Flexjet has signed a firm order for 20 Aerion AS2 supersonic jets, providing a critical boost for the 12-year-old the high-speed aircraft development project.
“Today, we are proud to be at the forefront of the next revolution in business jets, supersonic travel,” says Flexjet chairman Kenn Ricci.
“We are pleased to be the first fleet purchaser of the Aerion AS2 and to be able to offer supersonic, intercontinental flight capabilities to our owners,” Ricci says.
The firm order signing comes several months ahead of Aerion’s plan to relaunch the development programme with a recently refreshed design concept.
In 2014, Aerion unveiled a concept for the AS2, updating the original twinjet design with a trijet configuration. Airbus Defence & Space joined the programme a year ago to assist with the design and certification. More recently, Airbus has enhanced its role in the programme to pledge to build major assemblies and assist with the logistics of managing the Aerion supply chain.
Aerion is now in the process of selecting the engine that will power the Mach 1.5-capable AS2, with a decision expected in the first half of next year.
Aerion plans to complete first flight in 2021 and entry into service two years later.
“We have examined Aerion’s technology and the AS2’s remarkable performance capabilities, and see them as potential game-changers for business travel,” Ricci says.