A business meeting in New York, then back to Brussels in time to pick up the kids from school? Several manufacturers are currently working on new supersonic planes to be aimed at business travellers… specifically wealthy ones.
The famous Concorde may have last graced the airways in 2003, but the race to create new supersonic airliners seems well and truly on!
Airbus, for instance, has registered the patent for a new aeroplane christened Concorde 2, a supersonic jet that can travel from London to New York in 1 hour or Paris to Tokyo in 3! This scaled-down “space shuttle” will be equipped with three different types of engine: a pair of turbo-reactors to take off vertically, a rocket engine to propel it up to an altitude of 35,000 metres, and twin ramjets that will then take over and push the plane up to the incredible speed of 5.500 km/h (Mach 4.5, or 4.5 times the speed of sound)! The Concorde 2 will be able to carry just 20 passengers and will be targeted at business travellers and other wealthy clients. It’s clearly an impressive project, but the cost will be astronomical, while its profitability remains to be proven… No release date has yet been announced.
Another project somewhat nearer to completion: the AS2 – constructed by Airbus and Aerion Corporation – which has just found its first client. The private jet company Flexjet has just ordered 20 of these 12-seater aircraft, also designed with business travel in mind and capable of reaching a maximum speed of 1,850 km/h (Mach 1.5, which is 67% faster than current commercial flights). To give you an idea of the difference, while a standard plane takes 7hrs 48 to get from Paris to Washington, the AS2 will do it in just 4hrs 48! Its launch is planned for 2023, but given that both these planes are just two of many projects, one thing is certain: the world of aeronautics – in this case supersonic – has plenty more surprises in store for us!