Supersonic Bizjets -- Why Wait In Line?

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When the Concorde quit flying, it seemed like the end of an era for supersonic passenger aircraft -- but more likely, it was a blip in what will be a continuing story. Working on that next chapter are several companies laboring quietly away, hoping to build the transport of the future within the next 10 years. Most are aiming not for mass transport, but for the high-end business and fractional market, with seating for just 12 to 24 or so passengers. Aerion, based in Reno, Nev., and backed by billionaire Robert Bass, is testing its supersonic laminar-flow wing this month in New Mexico. The company last month hired on James Stewart, formerly with Bombardier Aerospace, as its chief financial officer. In his new position, Stewart will lead the company's effort to lure potential partners and refine its business case. Aerion said it expects to announce one or more partners next year. Stewart previously worked at Learjet and Short Brothers.