Aerion Corp. took its first order for a supersonic business jet just a few weeks ago, at the Dubai Air Show, but announced on Tuesday that it has now secured orders for 19 jets at $ 80 million each, totaling over $ 1.5 billion in commitments. "Considering our marketing effort has barely begun, this is a tremendous validation of the aircraft’s appeal," Aerion Vice Chairman Brian Barents said in a news release. The company said it expects to recruit a manufacturing partner by 2008 and have a certified jet in service by 2014. ExecuJet CEO Niall Olver, who is working with Aerion to help sell the jet, said: "Based on the homework we did prior to entering into this agreement with Aerion, we are not surprised at the number of people coming forward. This is just the tip of the iceberg."
The Aerion supersonic business jet was formally unveiled in October 2004. Since then, the design has been under development with computer models and wind tunnel tests. The jet is designed to cruise at speeds up to 1.15 Mach over land without producing a boom on the ground, and at speeds up to 1.6 Mach in other areas. Over the continental U.S., where regulations require speeds below Mach 1, the aircraft can cruise efficiently just below the speed of sound. The aircraft will seat eight to 12 passengers and have a range in excess of 4,000 nautical miles, the company says.