NetJets customers are set to break the speed of sound. The Berkshire Hathaway unit said it had obtained the right to purchase 20 Aerion AS2 supersonic private jets. The list price for the AS2 is $120 million. The order extends Aerion’s order book to over $10 billion. The new aircraft promises speeds of over 1,000 miles per hour.
The world’s largest private jet operator joins rival Flexjet, which ordered 20 of the supersonic business jets in 2015. The NetJets order means about half of the AS2’s backlog is split between the two fractional share operators. The aircraft will have a Mach 1.4 supersonic cruising speed and 0.95 subsonic using GE engines. It will have a high-speed range of 4,200 nautical miles carrying eight to 10 passengers.
Additionally, Aerion is forging an “expansive collaboration” with NetJets and FlightSafety International, another Berkshire Hathaway company.
“At Aerion our vision is to build a future where humanity can travel between any two points on our planet within three hours and this new partnership is a significant step towards realizing that vision,” said Aerion’s Chairman, President & CEO, Tom Vice.
He continued, “Our strategy is to connect the very best partners in the world within a new mobility ecosystem optimized for speed and founded on sustainability. In NetJets and FlightSafety International we have two such partners; both globally recognized leaders in their fields who share our passion for a new era of mobility that is both fast and at the same time kind to our planet.”
As part of the agreement, NetJets and Aerion “will explore NetJets becoming the exclusive business jet operator for the global mobility platform, Aerion Connect.”
Aerion Connect is billed as “a vision for a future global mobility ecosystem.” It will “integrate multiple, currently siloed urban and regional networks.” The goal is to “provide a seamless point-to-point travel experience, optimized for speed and luxury across multiple modes of transportation.”
“As the leader in private aviation, we constantly look for ways to be on the cutting-edge, and expanding our fleet to become the exclusive business jet operator for Aerion Connect is a thrilling next step,” said Adam Johnson, Chairman and CEO of NetJets Inc.
He said, “Together, we will be exploring the integration of the AS2 supersonic business jet into NetJets’ global network, and we are honored to be their chosen partner to enable the Aerion Connect vision.”
In collaboration with FlightSafety International, Aerion will also develop a supersonic flight training academy. The Aerion-branded facility will use FlightSafety’s global training expertise to provide a center for supersonic flight training.
“We’re excited to bring FSI’s signature passion for safety to Aerion’s training academy,” said Brad Thress, CEO of FlightSafety International. “This partnership marries Aerion’s innovation and our long-established experience, opening up new opportunities in the supersonic aircraft space and the future of the industry as a whole.”
Production of the AS2 is scheduled to begin production at Aerion Park in Melbourne, Florida, in 2023.
The new AS2 is set to be the first supersonic aircraft to enter commercial service since the Concorde. It will be the the world’s first supersonic private jet.
The two companies will also work together to facilitate the global availability and broad adoption of synthetic aviation fuels. Last month, NetJets said it was investing in start-up WasteFuel. SAF cuts CO2 emissions by as much as 85%. The AS2 will be powered by 100% engineered synthetic fuel and reach supersonic speeds without the need for an afterburner.
JetNetIQ predicts as many as three supersonic business jets to come to market by the end of this decade.