Exclusive: Aerion's AS2 supersonic private jet is in jeopardy

By Doug Gollan, May 22, 2021

Two sources tell Private Jet Card Comparisons that Aerion is informing customers it plans to cease operations

Aerion says, it “is now taking the appropriate steps in consideration of this ongoing financial environment.”

The much-talked-about Aerion supersonic private jet program looks to be running into headwinds. The AS2 is supposed to carry eight to 10 passengers. Its range of 4,200 nautical miles at Mach 1.4, about 1,000 miles per hour, would cut the flying time between New York and London to just over three hours.

However, two sources tell Private Jet Card Comparisons that Aerion is ceasing operations after failing to raise enough money. The sources both said the company has been informing customers over the past several days.

In a statement provided to Private Jet Card Comparisons, Aerion tells us, “In the current financial environment, it has proven hugely challenging to close on the scheduled and necessary large new capital requirements to finalize 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.”

Earlier this year, NetJets said it would order up to 20 of the private supersonic jets. In 2015, Flexjet had said it would also order 20 of the supersonic business jets. At the time, Aerion said it was holding $80 billion in orders and options. The aircraft carries a price tag of $120 million.

Updated @ 8:45 pm on May 21: Kenn Ricci, principal of Directional Aviation and chairman of the fractional share operator says, “Flexjet ordered its AS2’s from Aerion Supersonic in 2015 and the company has been a supporter of the program since then. We were particularly impressed with the recent design changes and innovations generated by Tom Vice and his current team. While we are disappointed to hear from the company that they are ceasing operations, we understand the vast investment required by such programs to bring them to fruition and the inherent risks involved.”

In late March Aerion said it was also planning a larger, faster supersonic jet. This one would seat up to 50 passengers. It would shave flights between New York and London to under an hour.

Last August, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced Aerion would construct a new state-of-the-art campus named Aerion Park in Melbourne, Florida. The project had a multi-year $300 million investment. It was expected to generate at least 675 jobs in the Sunshine State by 2026.

At the time, Tom Vice, Aerion’s chairman, president & CEO, said, “We are building the next generation of high-speed transportation networks that will revolutionize global mobility without leaving a carbon footprint on our world. Our AS2 business jet – the world’s first privately built supersonic aircraft – is the first stage in that exciting endeavor.”

In 2019 Boeing said it was making an investment in the company. Aerion was launched in 2003. Test flights were supposed to begin in 2024.

Executives at NetJets and Flexjet couldn’t be reached for comment.

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