Supersonic Business Travel Coming Soon? Boeing Invests In Aerion

Are you ready to travel on a supersonic business jet? You might be able to do so in just a few years.

Boeing has invested in Aerion, “the world leader in civil supersonic technologies.” According to a news release by Boeing, the company has “made a significant investment in Aerion to accelerate technology development and aircraft design, and unlock supersonic air travel for new markets.” The specific terms of the deal, however, were not disclosed.

Simple Flying reported last year that Aerion and Lockheed Martin were working on a supersonic jet, called the Aerion AS2. Aerion and Lockheed Martin had joined forces in 2017, but for unknown reasons, the two companies have now parted ways. Now that Lockheed Martin is no longer involved with the project, Boeing has stepped in.

Aerion AS2
Boeing has partnered with Aerion to make supersonic business travel a reality in the near future. Photo: Aerion.

What do we know about the supersonic business jet?

Aerion’s AS2 will accommodate up to 12 passengers and have a range of 5,400 nm at Mach 0.95 and 4,200 at Mach 1.4.

AS2 Interior
A look inside AS2’s interior. Photo: Aerion.

Its top speed will be Mach 1.4 (over 1,000 mph). Just for comparison, the Concorde’s maximum speed was Mach 2.04. Interestingly, BOOMLESS CRUISE flight will allow the aircraft to fly at Mach 1.2 without its sonic boom reaching the ground under certain atmospheric conditions. U.S. regulations (14 CFR 91.817), however, prohibit supersonic flight over land. Accordingly, the aircraft will have to fly at subsonic speeds (around Mach 0.95) over the United States. Nevertheless, Aerion is hoping that BOOMLESS CRUISE will lead to regulatory changes allowing supersonic flights over the United States eventually.

Regardless, the aircraft will allow travelers to shorten their flight times significantly. Here are a few examples based on information provided on Aerion’s website:

New York to

  • Dubai – Save 2 hours and 23 minutes
  • London – Save 1 hour and 55 minutes
  • Singapore – Save 4 hours and 15 minutes
  • Tokyo – Save 1 hour and 57 minutes
AS2 New York
Wouldn’t you like to fly from London to New York in 4 1/2 hours? Photo: Aerion.

The supersonic jet will be powered by General Electric Affinity engines. GE specifically built the engine for supersonic business jets. The General Electric Affinity engine features a service ceiling of 60,000 feet while meeting Stage 5 noise requirements. Additionally, the engine has the highest bypass ratio of any supersonic engine.

The list price of the aircraft is $120 million.

What will Boeing’s role be?

First of all, Boeing has invested a significant amount of money in the project. Secondly, “Boeing will provide engineering, manufacturing and flight test resources, as well as strategic vertical content, to bring Aerion’s AS2 supersonic business jet to market.”

Even though Boeing is not the first aircraft manufacturer to work with Aerion, it is the first one to actually invest money in the project. Airbus SE partnered with Aerion in 2014. Airbus originally planned on providing design and manufacturing support. In 2017, however, Airbus decided to stop working with Aerion. At this time, Lockheed Martin became Aerion’s partner.

Aerion and Boeing are undoubtedly eager to make supersonic business travel a reality, and we are looking forward to the aircraft’s first flight in 2023.

Are you looking forward to supersonic travel?