It will be 12 years as of next week since the last Concorde supersonic transport made its final commercial flight, but now it looks like faster-than-sound travel could be making a comeback in a few years — for business travelers who can afford it.
Flexjet, a leading provider of fractional ownership and leasing programs for private jets, said this week it has placed a firm order for 20 supersonic business jets being developed by Aerion Corp. It could be a long wait for potential passengers, though — the aircraft won’t make its first test flight until 2021 and won’t enter commercial service until 2023. At this early stage, there’s no estimate as to what a trip on the plane might cost.
Aerion is working with Airbus to develop the sleek three-engine plane — dubbed the AS2 — which will carry eight to 12 passengers and will hit a top speed of 1.5 times the speed of sound, or two-thirds faster than any business jet currently existing or in development, Flexjet said. (Commercial aircraft are only allowed to exceed the sound barrier over the ocean, so they have to slow down on routes over land.)
First look! Newest United Club and concourse
Flexjet said the aircraft will be capable of flying 4,750 nautical miles at supersonic speeds, allowing it to shave three hours off current transatlantic flying times, and six hours off transpacific flights.
Aerion Corp. is a project of Texas billionaire Robert Bass, according to Bloomberg News.
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