Boeing’s investment aims to tap growing high-end demand for air travel that slashes travel time.
In a filing, Boeing Co has disclosed, it has made a significant investment in Aerion, a supersonic business jet developer.
The development comes in the wake of Boeing, the world’s largest planemaker looking to tap increasing demand for high-end aircraft that can slash travel time.
Following the announcement, Boeing’s shares touched a record high of $407.48, after opening above $400 for the first time.
Boeing will provide engineering, manufacturing and flight testing services for Aerion’s $120 million supersonic business jet, which is slated for its first flight in 2023.
Aerion’s supersonic business jet, the Aerion AS2, can fly at speeds of up to Mach 1.4, 70% faster than conventional business jets.
According to representatives from Lockheed Martin Corp, which had announced a partnership with Aerion in 2017 to develop the AS2, is no longer working with the company.
“Lockheed Martin’s contract with Aerion to vet the technical viability of the AS2 design expired Friday, February 1, and there are no plans to renew,” said a spokeswoman for Lockheed Martin.
Boeing and Reno, Nevada-based Aerion, founded by billionaire businessman Robert Bass, did not disclose the financial terms of the deal.
Incidentally, U.S. startups Aerion, Boom Supersonic and Spike Aerospace are working to reintroduce supersonic passenger travel for the first time since the Anglo-French Concorde retired in 2003.
In October 2018, Aerion had stated, its designs enabled its planes to take off and land meeting the current subsonic noise standards in the United States, which means engine noise levels are within existing regulatory standards, thus providing a potential boost to efforts to bring back faster air travel.
General Electric Co’s GE Aviation unit has said it completed initial designs for the new Affinity turbofan engine, which will be used in Aerion’s AS2 jet, while Honeywell Aerospace has said it would develop the cockpit for the AS2.