Supersonic aircraft developer Aerion Corp., which had backing from Robert Bass as well as several leading aviation companies, confirmed on May 21 it is ceasing operations on its AS2 business jet program.
The Melbourne, Florida-based company cited difficulties raising capital to finance production of the AS2 aircraft.
“In the current financial environment, it has proven hugely challenging to close on the scheduled and necessary large new capital requirements to finalize the transition of the AS2 into production. Given these conditions the Aerion Corporation is now taking the appropriate steps in consideration of this ongoing financial environment,” the statement read.
According to a report in Aviation Week, employees were told of the development on May 21.
In March of this year, the company announced that its AS3TM, a commercial jet version of the AS2, would be able to reach speeds of Mach 4-plus or nearly 4000 mph, with the ability to fly up to 50 passengers for 7,000 nautical miles. The AS3TM was expected to enable flight between Los Angeles and Tokyo in less than three hours. The Melbourne, Florida-based company said at the time that the AS3 would make its first flight before the end of the decade.
The AS3 was to have built upon the Aerion’s AS2 supersonic business jet to bring the company’s innovation to commercial air transportation.
Aerion said then that production of the AS2 would begin in 2023. The company was also planning to build a new 100-acre, $300 million headquarters and production facility in Melbourne. The facility was to produce up to 300 AS2 jets annually. In February, the company announced that fractional airplane provider NetJets had pre-ordered 20 AS2 aircraft.