Honda Aircraft plans to ramp up to an annual build rate of 100 HondaJets within two years of starting its production line, company CEO Michimasa Fujino announced at a press conference here yesterday. Fujino also announced that the company had signed a master training service agreement with FlightSafety International to provide HondaJet pilot training. He told of plans for a regional dealer and service network; a redesigned cabin, lavatory and cockpit for the aircraft’s interior; and additional colors for the exterior. Fujino said that orders for the aircraft stood at “more than 100” but declined to be more specific other than saying it was currently for sale only in the U.S.
Fujino said that HondaJet development was proceeding on schedule toward a first flight of a conforming aircraft in 2009 and certification in 2010 and that testing, so far, had not changed the company’s previously announced performance numbers, including a top speed of 420 knots and an NBAA IFR range of 1,180 nm. The GE/Honda HF-120 turbofans that power the aircraft are expected to make their first flight later this year and achieve certification in 2009. Honda’s first flight-training simulator will be located in Greensboro, N.C., along with the company’s headquarters and at other locations across the U.S. as sales warrant.
Honda plans to launch its first dealership in Tallahassee, Fla., with other dealerships to be announced next year. Each HondaJet dealership will share the same architecture and house the same full-service facilities, much like Honda’s automobile dealerships. The company wants its dealerships distributed so there is at least one within 90 minutes’ flying time from most major U.S. cities, according to Dennis Boyle of the Flightline Group, owner of the Tallahassee dealership and a second dealership that is likely to be located in the Northeastern U.S. Doyle said it is likely that Honda will provide dealers with financial “participation.”