Private aviation management company NetJets has signed an agreement to develop a global mobility platform for supersonic aviation technology company Aerion and, ultimately, to buy Aerion’s aircraft.
NetJets’ memorandum of understanding with Aerion includes a provision to buy 20 of its AS2 supersonic business jets capable of speeds up to 1,000 miles per hour, on which the company plans to begin production in 2023. Private aviation company Flexjet already had put an order in for the AS2 aircraft, and Aerion reports its global order backlog now stands at more than $10 billion with the NetJets agreement.
In addition, the companies are looking into making NetJets the exclusive business jet operator for a global mobility platform, Aerion Connect, that would “integrate multiple, currently siloed urban and regional networks and provide a seamless point-to-point travel experience,” according to Aerion.
The memorandum also includes an agreement with FlightSafety International, an aviation company that, like NetJets, is a Berkshire Hathaway company. Aerion will work with FSI to develop a supersonic flight training academy for civil, commercial and military aircraft.
“At Aerion, our vision is to build a future where humanity can travel between any two points on our planet within three hours, and this new partnership is a significant step towards realizing that vision,” Aerion chairman, president and CEO Tom Vice said in a statement. “Our strategy is to connect the very best partners in the world within a new mobility ecosystem optimized for speed and founded on sustainability.”
Aerion, one of several companies currently developing supersonic aircraft, last year completed wind tunnel validation of its AS2 aircraft and plans to manufacture 300 of them within the first decade of production from its Melbourne, Fla., headquarters. The aircraft has been designed with the ability to run entirely on synthetic fuels and reach supersonic speeds without an afterburner. The agreement also calls on NetJets and Aerion to work together on expanding global availability and adoption of synthetic fuels.