Airbus will collaborate on a project to bring supersonic jets back to the skies, it has been revealed.
Bloomberg reports that the European planemaker will team up with Aerion Corp, owned by US billionaire Robert Bass, to build a new supersonic business jet.
Airbus is reported to have offered its expertise in a range of areas including design, manufacturing and certification, in exchange for access to Aerion’s technology that reduces drag on wings and the fuselage.
Aerion’s CEO, Doug Nichols, told Bloomberg that the support of Airbus meant his company could now proceed with plans to develop the new AS2 jet, which could be ready to fly in 2022.
“We see no technical show stoppers,” Nichols was quoted saying in a telephone interview. “The collaboration with Airbus was an essential piece in order to bring the expertise of a premier aircraft development concern into the fold.”
Aerion’s proposed AS2 will fly at speeds of between 1.2 and 1.6 times the speed of sound, and the company estimates that it will be able to sell approximately 600 aircraft over a 20-year period.
Aerion and Airbus plan to start developing the AS2 in 2016, with the first flight pencilled in for the end of 2019, according to Nichols. The goal for certification is 2021, with the plane going into service the following year.
Airbus, under its former name of Sud Aviation, was jointly responsible for bringing Concorde to the skies in the 1970s.