Aerion Supersonic, officially known as Aerion Corporation, is an aircraft manufacturer that is focused on bringing a supersonic business jet to the market. Aerion was founded in 2002/2003 by Robert Bass, Brian Barents, and Dr. Richard Tracy to develop a supersonic jet for civilian use. After several years of development, Aerion began moving toward producing a production supersonic business jet in 2019. Aerion’s primary focus is to bring the Aerion AS2, its supersonic private aircraft, to market. The Aerion AS2 was launched in 2014 to be the successor to the company’s first jet design, the Aerion SBJ.
The company has had partnerships with Airbus (2014) and then Lockheed Martin (2017). In February 2019, Aerion Corp announced a partnership with Boeing which removed Lockheed Martin as a partner. Boeing has become a key partner of the company and has invested capital into Aerion to support the firm’s growth. In addition, Boeing is providing flight test, manufacturing, and engineering resources to Aerion.
This article provides a wide overview on the status of the company, its history, and any important developments and operations.
Status of Aerion Supersonic
Throughout 2020, Aerion has been expanding its operations and preparing for the future launch of the Aerion AS2 jet. In April 2020, the company announced that it will move its corporate headquarters to Melbourne, Florida where it will build a new headquarters complex called Aerion Park. Wind tunnel testing of the AS2 jet was also completed near the end of 2020. Aerion has been gaining orders for its supersonic jet. As of March 2021, the backlog stands at $10 billion+. At the beginning of March 2021, the company reached an agreement with NetJets on the purchase of 20 Aerion AS2s through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). Before that order, the company gained orders from Set Jet (2021) and Avion Pacific (end of 2020). Aerion Corp is moving forward and accelerating toward the planned start of production in 2023. Flight testing is estimated to start in 2025 and entry-into-service is planned for 2027.
Aerion Company Development Timeline (Aerion Expansion)
Wind Tunnel Testing – 2020 – Complete
Aerion Park HQ – 2023 – In Progress
Production Start – 2023 – Planned
Flight Tests – 2025 – Planned
Entry Into Service – 2027 – Planned
Aerion AS2 and the SBJ
Aerion’s primary product is the AS2 supersonic jet. It is planned to be a three-engine jet that can fly up to Mach 1.4. It replaced the Aerion SBJ in the company’s aircraft portfolio. More information on the aircraft can be found on our upcoming Aerion AS2 page.
Above is a photo of Aerion Supersonic's AS2 jet flying over a mountain range with snow. Photo copyright Aerion and used under the fair use provision.
Aerion is headquartered in Reno, Nevada for the time being. The company is in the process of moving its headquarters to Melbourne, Florida. On April 24, 2021, the firm announced that it will build a $300 million headquarters on the grounds of Orlando Melbourne International Airport called Aerion Park. It is expected that the company will move from Aerion Reno to Florida. More details on Aerion Park can be found on our upcoming Aerion Park page.
Aerion Supersonic Melbourne
Aerion is in the process of building Aerion Park at the Orlando Melbourne International Airport. Before the construction of the new HQ, Aerion Florida does have a location. Their address, for the time being, is 100 Aerospace Dr, Unit 4 Melbourne, FL 32901. That address is located on the East side of the airport.
Above is a photo of Aerion Corporation's planned headquarters in Melbourne, FL - Aerion Park. Photo copyright Aerion and used under the fair use provision.
Aerion does not have an Orlando location. The confusion on that location may have to due to the fact that the company is going to relocate to Orlando Melbourne International Airport. Melbourne Airport is not in Orlando; however, is about 1 hour outside of the city on the east coast.
Aerion was founded in 2002/2003 to develop a civilian jet capable of flying at supersonic speeds. Robert Bass, Brian Barents, and Dr. Richard Tracy are the founders of the company. Over the next several years, Aerion Corporation worked on developing the technologies needed to bring supersonic jet travel back to the private sector. The company first developed the Aerion SBJ in 2004 as the main supersonic business jet in their product portfolio. In 2014, the SBJ was replaced by the Aerion AS2, which is a redesigned version of the jet. Aerion formed a partnership with Airbus in 2014 to further the development of the jet. In 2017, Lockheed Martin replaced Airbus. After a long period of development, Aerion Corp began to accelerate the development of the Aerion AS2 in 2019. Boeing replaced Lockheed Martin as Aerion’s partner in February 2019. With the Boeing partnership, Aerion Supersonic gained investment, engineering, and manufacturing support. In 2020, Aerion moved closer to the production of the AS2 supersonic jet by announcing the planned development of Aerion Park, the company’s new headquarters located in Melbourne, Florida. Wind tunnel testing of the AS2 model was completed in France at the end of 2020. At the end of 2020 and the start of 2021, Aerion gained orders from Avion Pacific, Set Jet, and NetJets. The company’s order book for the AS2 reached $10 billion in March 2020 after the announcement of the NetJets order.
Aerion has had partnerships with Airbus and Lockheed Martin. Aerion is now partnered with Boeing and they are leveraging Boeing's expertise to bring the Aerion AS2 to market.
Airbus Partnership – Started around 2014. Ended in 2017.
Lockheed Martin Partnership – Started 2017. Ended in 2019.
Boeing Partnership – Current partner. Started in 2019.
Aerion NASA – Aerion has partnerships with NASA to help with the development of supersonic aircraft. The most recent project that the two organizations are working on is the research and development of future ultra-high-speed commercial aircraft (high Mach). The project is focusing on developing aircraft in the 3 to 5 Mach range.
Aerion Partners, L.P. is a limited partnership that is the main investor in Aerion. Keystone Group L.P. is an affiliate of Aerion Partners that is related to the company. Bryan Barrett is CFO and Vice President of Keystone Group, L.P. and is on the board of directors of Aerion.
Aerion Board of Directors
In February 2019, Aerion Corporation created a five-member board of directors to oversee the operations of Aerion. On July 30th, 2021, the company made further changes by having Edward Neveril takeover Ken Shaw's position on the board. The following are the board of directors for the company.
Tom Vice – Chairman, President, CEO Aerion
Mike Sinnet - Vice President of Product Strategy and Future Airplane Programs at Boeing Commercial Airplanes
Bryan Barrett – CFO and VP of Keystone Group L.P., an affiliate of Aerion Partners L.P.
Paul Adams – former COO of Precision Castparts
Edward Neveril - Senior Director of Enterprise Corporate Development at The Boeing Company
Former Board Members
Ken Shaw – VP, Supply Chain - Boeing Global Services
Aerion Employees – Team Members
Key team members and executives of Aerion include the following people:
- Tom Vice – Chairman, President, and CEO
- Matthew Mejía – CFO, EVP Strategy and Investor Relations
- Dr. Richard Tracy – Founder, CTO, and EVP Technology and Advanced Programs
- Doug Coleman – General Counsel and EVP Governance and Compliance
- Steve Berroth – COO and EVP of Programs
- Lisa Holden – Chief Human Resources Officer and EVP Culture and Talent
- Kristi Finney – Cheif of Staff
- Matthew Gionta – VP, Design & Engineering
- Matt Cram – Chief Sustainability Officer & Chief Commercial Officer
- Randy Griffith – VP, Airworthiness & Certification
- Bissell Smith – CIO and EVP Enterprise Systems
- Alex Egeler – EVP, Aerion Technologies
- Scott Kalister – VP, Worldwide Support and Logistics
- Hal Martin – VP, Global Supply Chain
- Tim Fagan – Head of Industrial Design and Cabin Experience
- Cathy Rice – SVP, Business Management
- Dr. Peter Sturdza – VP, Flight Sciences
- Matthew Clarke – SVP, Global Marketing and Communications
- Chris Leger – Director of Structures
- Michael Hinderberger – SVP, Chief Engineer
- Richard Johnson – VP, Chief Systems Engineer
Robert Bass – Founder and Key Investor in Aerion
The Aerion Logo consists of a triangle with the shape of a supersonic jet in the middle of it. A photo of the logo is below.
Above is the Aerion Supersonic Logo with a black background.
Aerion Vs Boom
Aerion and Boom Supersonic are two of the main companies that are actively developing supersonic aircraft. The difference between the two companies is the route that they are taking to bring a commercial jet to market. Boom is taking focusing on bringing a commercial jet for airline use to market by building a demonstrator, the XB-1, and using the test results from that aircraft to build a commercial airliner, the Boom Overture.
Aerion is building a supersonic business jet (AS2) that is to be sold to ultra-high net worth individuals and charter companies. The company then plans to take the knowledge and resources gained from the AS2 to lower the costs of developing a supersonic jet. With lower costs, the company could move on to create a commercial jet like Boom.
Aerion IPO/SPAC Merger
In February 2021, Bloomberg reported that Aerion was in talks to go public through a SPAC merger with Altitude Acquisition Corp. A Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) is an alternate way for a company to go public. An IPO is a traditional method for a company to become publicly traded on a major stock exchange. In recent years, SPACs have gained tremendous traction and have become very popular as a way to bring private companies public.
Will Aerion Go Public?
Aerion has not commented on the potential SPAC deal or a future IPO. It is unknown if the company will be moving forward with the SPAC merger and going public.
The financials for Aerion Corp are unknown as the company is a private corporation and has not fully released information on its financials. Aerion has announced that it expects that the development of the AS2 jet will cost $4 billion and that it is selling the aircraft for $120 million. In 2020, the firm announced that it expects to bring in $40 billion in revenue over 10 years once the aircraft is launched. Its projected order book is 300 aircraft over 10 years which would equal $36 billion in sales. The remaining $4 billion will likely be for services that the company is going to provide to owners of the jet. Current revenues for Aerion are unknown; however, those projected sales provide some guidance on Aerion’s future revenues.
Aerion Market Cap and Valuation
The full market cap of the company is unknown at this time because it's not trading on an exchange and does not have a share price. The company does expect to bring in $40 billion over 10 years, so an idea of their potential market cap can be generated. The valuation of a company bringing in $10 billion/year with profitability on the horizon will be in the multi-billions.
The company has mostly been funded by Robert Bass and his team. Boeing is now providing financial support to the company as part of its partnership agreement. If Aerion does go for a SPAC merger, they will also obtain additional funds from that public offering. Aerion ownership likely involves several investors with Robert Bass being the primary investor.
Aerion is covered by a wide range of press outlets. On their website, they have a news and press section that has information on what the company is up to. All news and press contact information can be found on their site here: https://aerionsupersonic.com/news/
Sometimes people substitute the word hypersonic for supersonic. That is why you may see Aerion Supersonic be referred to as Aerion Hypersonic. Hypersonic, however, is used to describe an aircraft that is traveling way past the speed of sound. As a result, hypersonic would not be a good word to describe Aerion and the AS2.
To learn more about Aerion and the AS2 Supersonic Jet, please visit the other about the AS2 here on the site.