Aerion supersonic shuts down
Florida-based Aerion Supersonic is shutting down with immediate effect after failing to raise the further capital it needed to bring its supersonic business jet to market. The company had been aiming to begin production of the first prototype of its AS2 supersonic business jet in 2023. Founded in 2003 by American billionaire Robert Bass, Aerion began work on its supersonic business jet in 2004, with the aim of cutting transatlantic flight times in half. Aerion’s CEO Tom Vice said in 2020 that development of the $120 million AS2 would likely cost around $4 billion, with $1 billion alone needed just to develop the engines.
Aerion’s investors included Boeing, which made a "significant investment" in the company in 2019. The company had also secured as suppliers some of the biggest names in the industry. The jet was to have been powered by three GE Aviation Affinity turbofans. BAE Systems, Collins, GKN, Honeywell, Safran, Spirit AeroSystems and Universal Avionics were also confirmed as programme partners. Aerion was targeting 2026 for an entry into service. At the time of its closing, the company had secured an order backlog of over $11.2 billion, including multi-airplane orders from US-based Fractional operators NetJets and Flexjet. www.aerionsupersonic.com
NBAA welcomes new legislation to incentivize SAF production
The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) welcomed the introduction of the Sustainable Skies Act in the US, which creates a performance-based blender’s tax credit to incentivize the production and use of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). The Sustainable Skies Act would establish a $1.50 per gallon “blender’s tax credit” for SAF that achieves at least a 50 percent reduction in lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions compared with conventional fossil-based jet fuel. In addition, the fuels would receive another one-cent-per-gallon credit for each percentage point in reduction above 50 percent. A 100 percent reduction would therefore receive a $2-per-gallon credit. Under the measure, the tax credits would be in effect until 2030.
“This important legislation is key toward the business aviation community’s aggressive work to meet its sustainability objectives,” said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. SAF potentially can reduce lifecycle GHG by up to 80% compared to conventional jet fuel and is considered pivotal to achieving the aviation industry’s goal of a 50% net reduction in CO2 emissions in 2050. Despite its benefits, the scalability of SAF is currently difficult, and considerably more expensive, than conventional jet fuel. Through a dedicated tax credit, the production of SAF can be accelerated, and the fuel can become commercially viable, says NBAA. www.nbaa.org
Global Jet Capital’s business jet market brief
Business jet financing firm Global Jet Capital (GJC) has issued an assessment of world market activity in its first-quarter market briefing, saying activity continued to "demonstrate strength" in the first quarter after last year’s "remarkable resilience." Driven by the U.S. market, as well as charter and fractional usage, business aviation flight activity was 4.9 percent higher than in Q1 2020 and the quarter was the sector’s best performance since the beginning of the pandemic, says GJC.
According to GJC market brief, Increasing pre-owned transactions and declining aircraft listings led to declining business jet inventory in Q1 2021. Inventory ended the quarter at 7.2 percent of the total fleet, lower than at any time during the last two years and near all-time lows. The full report is available at: www.globaljetcapital.com
People: Gulfstream appoints Vicki Britt SVP, innovation, engineering and flight
Gulfstream Aerospace last week announced the appointment of Vicki Britt as senior vice president, innovation, engineering and flight. Colin Miller, who previously held the role, recently announced his retirement after eight years of service to Gulfstream. Britt serves as a member of Gulfstream’s leadership team and reports to Gulfstream President Mark Burns. In her new role, Britt is responsible for research and development; new aircraft program initiation; engineering and product development; flight, lab and structural test; and worldwide Gulfstream flight operations.
Britt, who has more than 30 years’ experience in the aerospace industry, joined Gulfstream in 1996 and has held a number of roles with increasing responsibility in stress, fatigue and damage tolerance; new product development; and airframe engineering. She also has served as staff scientist and director of aircraft structures and, most recently, chief engineer and program manager of Gulfstream special missions.
Britt’s aerospace career began at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. She holds a doctorate in aerospace engineering from Old Dominion University and earned a master’s degree in mechanical engineering and a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from North Carolina State University. www.gulfstreamnews.com