Aerion Claims It Will Be First To Market with an SSBJ
Aerion chairman Robert Bass is using the NBAA Convention next week to reiterate the company’s commitment to forging a partnership with one or more OEM partners and to being first to market with a supersonic business jet (SSBJ). “I am committed to the Aerion program as long as we see progress in our discussions with OEMs,” he said. “We are seeing progress. In fact, we are quite encouraged by our discussions. There is no question that the economic impact on the industry has slowed their decision-making progress, but it has not lessened interest in this program.” Bass added that while some companies are committed to quiet supersonic designs requiring regulatory changes, “Aerion technology is the most practical–and financially rewarding–path back to supersonic flight. We are not waiting around for rules to change, which could be a very long wait; we are moving forward with proven technology.” The company is now in discussions aimed at entering into a nine- to 12-month technical assessment phase with a partner or partners to jointly study taking Aerion’s SSBJ design through a successful certification effort. Aerion expects that this phase will culminate with the launch of a five-year development and certification program, suggesting a possible entry into service of the $80 million, Mach 1.6 SSBJ in late 2015.