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Thu 15 Nov 2007 03:12 AM

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Sheikh Rashid buys supersonic business jet

Ajman leader set to conduct business above the speed of sound in $80mn Aerion jet.

Sheikh Rashid Bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, head of the Ajman Muncipality and Planning Department, has signed an order with US engineer Aerion for its supersonic business jet at the Dubai AirShow.

According to Aerion vice chairman Brian Barents, Sheikh Rashid will become “one of the first world leaders to routinely fly above the speed of sound” in the jet, which seats eight to 12 passengers.

The plane has a range in excess of 4,000 nautical miles and is designed to cruise at speeds up to 1.15 Mach overland without producing a boom on the ground, and at speeds of up to 1.6 Mach in other areas.

In the US, where regulations required speeds below Mach 1, the aircraft can cruise efficiently just below the speed of sound.

“This week we have seen orders for the biggest and the fastest airplanes,” said Sheikh Rashid. “In the new global economy there is a place for both. For me, speed confers great advantages. It will simply speed up the pace of business activities, and allow me to take key business associates to more places, discussing more opportunities.”

Aerion said last Sunday it was opening the book for the jet, appointing the Switzerland-based ExecuJet as its international sales agent. The company says interest has been strong and it expects further sales as a result of discussions initiated in Dubai.

Customers can obtain the aircraft for a launch price of $80 million, and can secure early delivery positions with a refundable deposit of $250,000.

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