Fleet Financing

The future of supersonic private jet maker Aerion is uncertain



Despite building up an order book of $ 11.2 billion, including potential twin engagements of 20 AS2 supersonic private jets from NetJets and Flexjet, Aerion will cease operations unless it finds an 11th hour white knight. Several sources say the Aerion has told its customers that several funding deals have failed and that it will cease operations.

In a written statement, the company said: “ The AS2 supersonic business jet program meets all market, technical, regulatory and sustainability requirements and the market for a new supersonic segment of general aviation has was validated with an order book of 11.2 billion dollars for the AS2. However, in the current financial environment, it has proven extremely difficult to close the new capital requirements planned and necessary to complete the transition from AS2 to production. In view of these conditions, Aerion Corporation is now taking the appropriate measures taking into account this ongoing financial environment.

Earlier in the day, everything seemed as usual. A message posted this morning on his Twitter account boasted: “As part of our sustainability efforts, we plan to help the Earth’s natural carbon capture system by committing to planting 100 million trees. here 2036. “

Now, the future of trees and their supersonic jets seems uncertain. The AS2 was supposed to reach speeds of 1,000 miles per hour with a range of 4,200 nautical miles. Designed to accommodate between eight and ten passengers, it would have cut travel time between New York and London to just over three hours.

With a price tag of $ 120 million, it appears that Aerion had commitments for at least 93 aircraft. However, a source said that only a small amount of money was to be put in place and that those funds were held separately and not used for operations, so they will be returned.

In March, Aerion announced plans for the AS3, a larger and faster version of the AS2 that would cut flight time across the Atlantic to just an hour and carry 50 passengers.

Aerion was founded in 2003, backed by Robert Bass (Forbes # 550; Net Worth: $ 5 billion). In February 2019, Boeing said it had “made a significant investment in Aerion to accelerate technology development and aircraft design, and unlock supersonic air travel for new markets.” Two months later, the Federal Aviation Administration ordered the grounding of Boeing’s 737 MAX. In December, Boeing had a new CEO by the name of Dennis Muilenberg, released.

Last April, Enterprise Florida announced that Aerion was moving from Reno, Nevada, to Melbourne, Florida. The $ 300 million project is expected to generate 675 jobs by 2026.

There has been no commercial supersonic travel option since 2003, when British Airways withdrew its Concorde fleet.

Neither NetJets nor Flexjet had announced details of how they plan to market and sell the AS2. Both sell fractions of shares starting with 1/16e tranche of ownership, which provides 50 hours of flight time per year. For the AS2, that would mean a purchase price of $ 7.5 million. Fractional equity contracts typically last three to five years. Share owners then pay a monthly management fee, plus a contractual hourly rate, plus a surcharge for fuel and other incidentals when they fly.

News of Aerion’s possible disappearance was first reported by Private jet card comparisons earlier today.

Update 8:49 pm May 21: “Flexjet ordered its AS2s from Aerion Supersonic in 2015 and the company has supported the program since then. We have been 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 going out of business, we understand the large investment required by such programs to carry them out and the inherent risks involved, ”said Kenn Ricci, Director of Directional Aviation, Owner majority of Flexjet.



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