Supersonic air travel could make a triumphant return in the near future, at least for a select few individuals with extremely healthy bank balances. The stunning Aerion AS2 jet is finally set to become a reality, thanks to a partnership between designers Aerion and Airbus. The pair will work on the technical development of the concept aircraft. According to a report in flyingmag.com, Airbus’ chairman Allan McArtor was quoted as saying he intends to take the project, “to the finish line,” suggesting the jet will eventually go into operation.
While many will think of Concorde when discussing supersonic jet travel, the Aerion AS2 is a private plane designed to shoot business-types around the globe in double quick time. The big question, then, is how fast does it go? A top speed of Mach 1.6, or a touch over 1,200 miles per hour, is expected and a cruising speed of Mach 1.1 or Mach 1.2 will be maintained over areas where supersonic flight is prohibited, due to noise regulations related to sonic booms.
This translates into some very speedy journeys. London to New York will be over in four hours, 20 minutes, while San Francisco to Tokyo takes just over six hours, a massive four hour savings over conventional flights. Inside the Aerion AS2 there’s room for 11 passengers in the luxurious, 30-foot long cabin, which has a separate dining room, stateroom, and shower.
If you’re wondering when you’ll get the chance to see it in action, Aerion says it wants to start test flights in 2019, followed by final certification for business use in 2021. There’s still plenty to be done during this time. For example, the Aerion AS2 needs three engines, and a partner to build them has yet to be found.
Because there’s a good five years between now and the Aerion AS2’s maiden flight, it gives us plenty of time to save up the projected $100 million needed to buy one. For comparison, a 12-seat Bombardier Challenger 605 private jet, which is apparently good enough for F1 driver Lewis Hamilton, could be yours today for a mere $27 million.