Next Big Thing – next gen consumer supersonic jets

Concorde II could be landing, ahem, as soon as 2012 for international flights

I thought the Concorde era was over?

The Concorde era is indeed over, but that just means it's high time a new supersonic king of the skies took the throne. Aerion, along with NASA, are hoping to test their newly designed first supersonic business jet as soon as next year.

I bet that won’t be cheap...

The Aerion plane certainly isn’t with a price tag of £47 million, but running costs will be little more than a Boeing 747. It will manage to complete the Paris to New York slog in just 4.2 hours, but will likely be reserved for business class sorts who really need the speed. A Concorde ticket cost around £6,000, so it’s likely this will be at least that or even more.

Is there an alternative?

Not necessarily an affordable one, but EAD’s Zero Emission Hyper Sonic Transport (ZEHST) is working on a 2050 release (second picture below) which, powered by seaweed biofuel, will reach 5,000kph meaning London to Tokyo will take less than three hours. Hypermach are working on SonicStar (first picture below) which is a supersonic business jet capable of Mach 3.3 at 30 per cent better efficiency than Concorde. Bookings are being taken now for its first flight in 2021. Better start saving.

[ZEHST Image: Noel McKeegan]

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