Aerion, with the aid of Airbus, is picking up the pace of development of a supersonic business jet, the company said at a press briefing during the National Business Aviation Association convention in Las Vegas Nov. 16. It has been one year since Airbus joined the effort to develop the jet.
Aerion, located in Reno, Nevada, said an expanded agreement between the two companies includes “engineering, procurement and supply chain management, logistics planning, program management, and government relations.”
In addition, the company has begun a nationwide search for a factory site that will build the Aerion AS2. “We’re looking for a state-of-the art campus of more than 100 acres on a major airport with a minimum 9,000-foot runway, and other special geophysical requirements,” said Aerion CEO Doug Nichols.
The site must be “within 200 nautical miles of a supersonic flight test area, most likely one offshore,” the company said. Aerion will evaluate airport suitability, road and rail infrastructure, and proximity to a deep-water port, among other factors. The company plans to announce the location of the assembly site in the first half of 2016 when the AS2 program formally launches; it hopes to break ground in 2018. The first flight of the Aerion AS2 is expected in 2021.
Allan McArtor, chairman and CEO of Airbus Group, Inc., said Airbus remains committed to the project. “The further we proceed along the development path with Aerion, the greater our enthusiasm for this program and the deeper our commitment.”