The return of civilian supersonic aircraft suffered an immense setback this Friday with confirmation that the startup Aerion will halt its operations.
The startup founded by Robert Bass in Nevada in 2003 intended to produce the AS2 business jet, capable of flying at Mach 1.4, but after rumors a spokeman confirmed that the lack of financial resources forced the program to be canceled.
“In the current financial environment, it has proven hugely challenging to close on the scheduled and necessary large new capital requirements,” said the company to several outlets.
“Aerion Corporation is now taking the appropriate steps in consideration of this ongoing financial environment,” concluded the statement that, although it is unclear as to the fate of the project, had its end confirmed by Boeing, one of the companies supporting the initiative.
The announcement came as a surprise because until then Aerion continued to achieve several milestones in its program, including the project to build an assembly line at Melbourne Airport in Orlando and the sale of a significant number of aircraft, including 20 AS2 jets. for NetJets, one of the largest companies in the industry.
Aerion had also reached a partnership agreement with the renowned FlightSafety to provide training for future AS2 pilots.
In addition, the company even announced the launch of a second aircraft, the AS3, a 50-passenger jet capable of flying at more than Mach 4 over distances of 7,000 nm.
Aerion planned to fly the first AS2 flight in 2024 and had the financial and technical support of Boeing, which regretted the end of the program. The aircraft would have a capacity for 10 passengers and would be powered by three engines installed in the tail and wings.
With partnerships with Collins, Honeywell, BAe, Safran, GKN, Spirit Aerosystems and Universal Avionics, Aerion hoped to put its supersonic business jet into service in 2026.
After the end of Aerion, two more supersonic commercial jet programs remain at a more advanced stage, Spike’s S-512, a business aircraft as well, and Boom Aerospace’s Overture.
Boom is the most advanced company in its project that already has a conceptual aircraft being prepared for the first flight, the XB-1. Based in Denver, the startup plans to put on the market an airliner with a capacity of 60 seats, Mach 2.2 speed and aesthetic similarity to the Concorde.