Aerion has started accepting letters of intent for the first 80 delivery positions of its projected supersonic business jet and has appointed Zurich-headquartered ExecuJet Aviation to offer half of them to customers outside the Americas. The first delivery position went to prominent Saudi businessman, Dr. Tarek bin Laden, who is expected at the airshow today.
Aerion lists the airplane for $80 million in 2007 dollars, and a refundable deposit of $250,000 will secure one of the delivery positions. Aerion vice chairman Brian Barents said market demand drove the decision to accept deposits. “As confidence in the Aerion program has grown we have been approached by a number of prospective customers wanting to secure positions,” he said. “We would be remiss to ignore their enthusiasm and interest.”
ExecuJet maintains strategic alliances with business jet manufacturers Bombardier and Grob and manages a fleet of more than 100 business jets, with support operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “Aerion has hit the nail on the head in terms of performance and delivery,” said CEO Niall Olver. “We’ve taken a close look at this design and have a good understanding of what global business jet travelers want and will pay for. The Aerion jet will be a compelling sales proposition and staightforward to support.”
Olver expects demand for the airplane to come from Europe and the Middle East, plus emerging markets such as Russia, China and India. “We are looking forward to the day when we are routinely flying customers in these aircraft,” he added.
The Aerion jet is designed to cruise at up to Mach 1.15 over land without producing a boom on the ground, and at Mach 1.6 elsewhere. The cabin can accommodate eight to 12 passengers and design range is more than 4,000 nm.