The future of air travel is coming.
Business aviation company Flexjet announced this week it placed an order for 20 new supersonic jets that should be ready to start passenger flights in 2023. The proposed Aerion AS2 will travel at 1.5 times the speed of sound, allowing it to make the trip from New York to London in about four and a half hours instead of the usual seven.
The planes likely won't fly over land in the U.S. or Europe, where sonic booms are restricted, because they won't be cost-effective to operate at subsonic speeds, Aviation Week reports. But the skies are wide open for supersonic flights in China and over the Atlantic Ocean, creating a whole range of route options for intercontinental travel.
Flexjet's order is the first for Aerion; the company reportedly plans to start manufacturing the AS2 in 2018. As a business-class jet, the AS2 would carry eight to 12 passengers. And while we imagine a flight will be pricey, there's good news: supersonic travel appears poised for a comeback, and this development may help bring it one step closer to the common traveler.
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This post has been updated to clarify language about why the planes likely won't fly over the U.S. or Europe.
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