Aerion plans to launch a supersonic business jet for the wealthy in 2027, called AS2. After the launch of the business jet, the company plans to dedicate itself to something that means more to the masses. It is currently planning a supersonic passenger aircraft called AS3TM, which would transport 50 passengers at speeds above Mach 4.
Previously, the only supersonic commercial aircraft was the Concorde, and the AS3TM is about twice as fast as that iconic passenger plane. Aerion’s AS3TM cruise on Mach 4 would represent a ground speed of over 3,000 miles per hour. A passenger on board the AS3TM crossing at this speed would be able to fly from LA to Tokyo in less than three hours.
For comparison, this flight takes almost 12 hours on airplanes today. AS3TM would have a range of about 7,000 nautical miles, and it is unclear at this point whether that number is a usable range without mandatory fuel reserves. If that range is usable, it would be able to operate most long-haul routes, comprising the ten longest flights in the world.
Aerion wants to make it possible for people to travel between any two points on the globe in three hours or less. A significant mystery about the aircraft is exactly how much it would cost and how much a ticket on board would cost. It would certainly cost more to operate and fly aboard an aircraft limited to just 50 passengers than a typical large commercial aircraft.
AS3TM was designed to take to the skies before the end of the decade, but it has obstacles to overcome. One of the biggest obstacles is the current regulations that prevent supersonic flight over the land due to the noise created by supersonic explosions.