Aerion's Supersonic AS2 Inches Closer to Market

Formal launch of the program to begin mid-2016.

Aerion AS2

Aerion AS2

In 2004, Aerion introduced the first design of its supersonic business jet. More than 10 years later, the project is gaining traction, with the company gaining backers, solidifying collaborations with partner Airbus and searching for a factory site.

Still, the first supersonic business jet won't hit the market anytime soon; the Aerion AS2's first flight is planned for 2018 and FAA certification is expected in 2021 with entry into service that year, but that schedule could change. By the first half of 2016, Aerion expects to announce its assembly site and so will begin the formal launch of the AS2 program, which will cost roughly $4 billion to produce.

At the NBAA Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition in Las Vegas, Aerion announced Monday that Airbus Group will expand its resources to more than engineering. The collaboration has evolved to also include procurement and supply-chain management, logistics planning, program management and government relations through Airbus Defense and Space in Spain. While Airbus is providing major components of the jet's production, Aerion will conduct the final assembly in of the AS2 in the United States.

"The further we proceed along the development path with Aerion, the greater our enthusiasm for this program and the deeper our commitment," said Allan McArtor, chairman and CEO of Airbus Group. "Under our new agreement, our two companies are working as one to bring Aerion's supersonic AS2 to the business jet market."