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Tue, Nov 13, 2007

Aerion Appoints ExecuJet As Exclusive Sales Representative

Company Accepting Letters Of Intent For Supersonic Bizjet

Aerion tells ANN the company recently began accepting Letters of Intent for a limited number of early delivery positions on its planned supersonic business jet.

At the 2007 Dubai Air Show, the company also announced the appointment of Zurich-headquartered ExecuJet Aviation Group as the exclusive representative for all areas of the world outside the Americas. On behalf of Aerion, ExecuJet is now offering 40 early delivery positions to customers outside the Americas for an aircraft priced at US$80 million in 2007 dollars.

The positions will be secured by refundable deposits of $250,000. In the Americas, Aerion will accept letters of interest directly.

"Market demand has driven our decision to begin accepting deposits," said Brian Barents, Aerion vice chairman. "As confidence in the Aerion program has grown, we have been approached by a number of prospective customers wanting to secure positions. We would be remiss to ignore their enthusiasm and interest."

ExecuJet was an ideal marketing partner, Barents adds, due to a proven aircraft sales track record in strategic alliance with leading business jet OEMs Bombardier and Grob Aerospace. The company manages a fleet of more than 100 light- to large- and ultra-long-range business jets, and support operations strategically located across Europe, the Middle East, Australasia and Africa.

"We have a keen interest in supersonic business jet transport, and, more particularly, the Aerion jet," said Niall Olver, chief executive officer of ExecuJet. "Aerion has hit the nail on the head in terms of performance and technology. We’ve taken a close look at this design, and have a good understanding of what global business jet travelers want and will pay for. The Aerion jet takes advantage of well-understood materials and technologies and uses off-the-shelf engines. It will be a compelling sales proposition and straightforward to support."

The Aerion supersonic business jet was formally unveiled in October 2004, and is now in an "advanced stage of design," according to the company.

As ANN reported, Aerion is seeking to recruit an aircraft manufacturer to serve as program integrator. The company says it is in discussions with candidate companies and anticipates an agreement within the first half of 2008. That would allow the Aerion supersonic jet to enter service as soon as 2014.

The Aerion jet is designed to cruise at speeds up to 1.15 Mach overland without producing a boom on the ground, and at speeds up to 1.6 Mach in other areas. Over the continental US, where regulations require speeds below Mach 1, the aircraft can cruise efficiently just below the speed of sound, offering economies comparable to today’s large business jets. The aircraft seats eight to 12 passengers in stand-up comfort and has a range in excess of 4,000 nautical miles.

"Our agreement with ExecuJet is indicative of this project’s momentum. It will serve to further validate demand for supersonic travel in general, and Aerion's approach in particular," said Barents. "Indeed, ExecuJet’s endorsement is a testament to the progress we have made in our efforts to reintroduce supersonic flight to the civil market."

FMI: www.aerioncorp.com

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