I’m very familiar with ionocraft, but from what I’ve read about them, the reason passenger ionocraft were never built is that the effect doesn’t scale up well. This is not a government lie I think as anybody can build ionocraft in their garage and confirm that as you make the craft bigger it quickly reaches a point where it can’t lift itself, let alone a passenger.
I follow a Youtuber who builds ionocraft, including some of the first in the world able to run on battery power, and so far the largest I’ve seen that can fly is about a meter in size. Having said that, MIT some time ago demonstrated a more efficient form of ionocraft in their solid state airplane able to maintain level flight, so I’ll reserve judgement.
If this topic is a pet interest of yours, you may enjoy a story I posted to this account titled “Brainchild” wherein the last survivors of a surface ruining war live in a flying city built on interlocking triangular ionocraft platforms. It’s also on Inkitt: https://www.inkitt.com/stories/scifi/13596