Aerion has signed a multifaceted memorandum of understanding with NetJets and its sister company FlightSafety International, including the rights for NetJets to purchase 20 AS2 supersonic business jets. The deal would extend Aerion’s backlog for the Mach 1.4 aircraft to $10 billion, Aerion said.
Under the collaborative agreement, Netjets would become the exclusive business jet operator for Aerion Connect, which is Aerion’s vision for a global mobility ecosystem that enables seamless point-to-point travel across multiple modes of transportation in urban and rural settings.
“We constantly look for ways to be on the cutting-edge, and expanding our fleet to become the exclusive business jet operator for Aerion Connect is a thrilling next step,” said NetJets chairman and CEO Adam Johnson. “Together, we will be exploring the integration of the AS2 supersonic business jet into NetJets’ global network.”
In addition, Aerion would collaborate with FlightSafety International on a supersonic flight training academy for civil, commercial, and military supersonic aircraft. The Aerion-branded academy will leverage FSI’s training expertise to serve as a center of excellence for supersonic flight training and education, Aerion said.
“This partnership marries Aerion’s innovation and our long-established experience, opening up new opportunities in the supersonic aircraft space and the future of the industry as a whole,” said FlightSafety CEO Brad Thress.
Aerion is planning to bring the AS2 to market later this decade, saying plans to kick off production at Aerion Park in Melbourne, Florida, remain on track for 2023 after the completion of wind-tunnel validation trials late last year, Aerion said.
Meanwhile, Berkshire Hathaway’s 2020 annual report sees its purchase obligations swelling from $6 billion in 2024/25 to nearly $20 billion after 2025, citing increases at NetJets in addition to its energy and rail groups.
As for 2020 results, NetJets and FlightSafety collectively reported an $816 million, or 13.5 percent, drop in revenues in 2020 as the Covid-19 pandemic eroded flight and training demand. NetJets flight hours slid 27 percent for the year, while FlightSafety’s training hours decreased by 30 percent.