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Manufacturing Minute: Rebirth Of Supersonic Air Travel

In this episode, a Nevada company plans to once again offer flights faster than the speed of sound.

Supersonic passenger air travel is nearly 30 years old, but it's been on hiatus since the retirement of the Concorde in 2003. This week, however, a company backed by Texas billionaire Robert Bass outlined its plans to deliver a new supersonic business jet after a 20-year absence.

Aerion Corporation and French aerospace giant Airbus will partner to build the 170-foot long AS2 private jet, which would be able to carry up to 12 passengers at 1.5 times the speed of sound. Although it would only be able to achieve top speeds over oceans, the AS2 could shave more than two hours off a flight from London to New York.

Aerion plans to break ground on a U.S. factory sometime in 2018, with initial flights in 2021 and deliveries to customers beginning in 2023. Flight-share company Flexjet will be its first customer, announcing a purchase of 20 planes this week.

SO, WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Is there sufficient demand among elite jet-setters for faster travel? Or will the same cost and fuel issues that doomed the Concorde also impact the AS2?

Email us or leave your comments below.

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