Supersonic business jet developer Aerion is shutting down, it announced in a statement. Having entered a partnership with Boeing in 2019, Aerion expected the AS2 supersonic business jet to make its first flight in 2023. As recently as March 2021 Aerion announced a Mach 4+ airliner, the AS3, planned to take flight by the end of the decade.
“The Aerion Corporation has assembled a world-class team of employees and partners, and we are very proud of our collective efforts to realise a shared vision of revolutionising global mobility with sustainable supersonic flight,” the statement read. “Since our company’s formation our team has created disruptive new innovations plus leading-edge technologies and intellectual property.
“The AS2 supersonic business jet programme meets all market, technical, regulatory and sustainability requirements and the market for a new supersonic segment of general aviation has been validated with US$11.2bn [€9.17bn] in sales backlog for the AS2.
“However, in the current financial environment, it has proven hugely challenging to close on the scheduled and necessary large new capital requirements to finalise the transition of the AS2 into production. Given these conditions the Aerion Corporation is now taking the appropriate steps in consideration of this ongoing financial environment.”
Accommodating 8-10 passengers, the AS2 executive jet was to be powered by 100% engineered synthetic fuel and reach supersonic speeds without the need for an afterburner. The aircraft had completed wind tunnel testing. Meanwhile, the AS3 airliner was to transport up to 50 passengers with a range of 7,000 nautical miles.
The AS2 was to be built at Aerion Park, a new global headquarters planned to cover more than 110 acres at Orlando Melbourne International Airport in Melbourne, Florida. The development was to include an integrated campus for research, design, production and interior completions. It was planned to be the most environmentally sustainable facility of its kind in the aerospace sector, using photovoltaic solar technology to generate energy for manufacturing, and featuring many other environmental measures.
Aerion announced in December 2020 that Aerion Park represented a capital investment of more than US$300m (€245.6m) in construction, machinery and equipment, and would bring at least 675 new jobs to Florida by 2026.