Company Still Seeking Builder For Supersonic Bizjet
In the six months that Aerion has
been accepting orders for the Aerion supersonic business jet, the
company has received more than 40 letters of intent backed up by
refundable deposits of $250,000. At a price of $80 million per
aircraft, the total backlog stands at more than $3 billion... and
Aerion officials expect the backlog may go higher before the close
of EBACE2008, which kicks off Tuesday in Geneva, Switzerland.
Now, all the company needs is an OEM to build its proposed
supersonic business transport... but Aerion says they're working on
"Just two and a half years ago our market research indicated a
market for 300 supersonic jets over 10 years," noted Aerion Vice
Chairman Brian Barents, "but that survey did not even include
demand from countries such as India, China and Russia. If anything,
we have underestimated global demand."
Barents pointed to five orders secured by marketing agent
ExecuJet in India alone as an indication of emerging market demand.
Aerion has also secured orders in Pakistan, The Middle East,
Europe, North America and South America.
Aerion says it is continuing discussions with potential OEM
partners, as well as potential tier-one suppliers. Aerion has an
exclusive agreement with Pratt & Whitney for the use of a new
variant of its JT8D-219 engine, a member of the ubiquitous JT8D
family, flat-rated to 19,600 pounds of thrust.
Aerion expects to reach an agreement with an OEM by year end,
keeping the company on track to certify the supersonic jet as
planned in 2014. In the meantime, Aerion continues to focus on
building a dealer and support network.
"We have teamed with sales representatives that are known and
respected the world over," said Barents. "They are among the most
experienced in selling intercontinental jets, and their customers
recognize and value this expertise."
Technical progress continues as well. Aerion is conducting tests
in an anechoic lab to evaluate noise characteristics of different
nozzle configurations. Wind tunnel tests are planned for
later this year to confirm results of configuration changes, as
will large-scale inlet and nozzle tests. The company has previously
stated that the Aerion jet will meet Stage 4/Chapter 4 noise
"A lot of people are concluding Aerion will be the company to
reintroduce supersonic civil flight," said Barents. "We look
forward to talking to them in Geneva."