At its first official presence here at EBACE yesterday, Honda Aircraft (Booth No. 7547) announced three European HondaJet dealers that will provide sales and service to customers in the region. It also revealed Formula 1 driver Jenson Button as the European launch customer for the compact twinjet. Company president Michimasa Fujino said Europe is one of the fastest-growing markets for light jets, “and the HondaJet is the right product at the right time” in this region.
“We have a great number of European customers who have contacted us over the past two years about owning a HondaJet,” he said, prompting the company to establish a network of three standalone dealers to cover the Northern Europe/UK, Central Europe and Southern Europe sales territories. The HondaJet price in Europe will remain the same as in the U.S.–$3.9 million. This is an increase from the previous $3.65 million price tag.
TAG Aviation has been tapped to run HondaJet UK & Northern Europe at Farnborough Airport southeast of London. In Central Europe, Rheinland Air will set up a dealership in Frankfurt, Germany. Aviastec will establish the HondaJet Southern Europe center in the Madrid area of Spain.
Honda also expanded its partnership with FlightSafety International to provide HondaJet pilot training for all European customers, though a location has yet to be selected. FSI is currently developing a level-D flight simulator for the very light jet, with the first simulator to be installed at Honda Aircraft’s headquarters in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Additionally, the company is unveiling a “new concept” in-flight entertainment system here at EBACE. The system, which can be seen in the cabin mockup on display at Honda’s booth, employs high-definition touch panels that deploy from the ceiling and provide passengers with personal control of in-cabin video and audio entertainment, climate systems and cabin-cockpit communications.
Fujino apologized for not bringing the sole HondaJet prototype to EBACE, saying that the airplane is “now conducting extensive testing, with significant emphasis on the certification program.” But it won’t be the sole flying airplane for long–three production-conforming HondaJets are currently under construction in Greensboro, Honda Aircraft vice president of sales and marketing Doug Danuser told EBACE Convention News.
The HondaJet is slated for FAA certification in 2010, with EASA approval expected three to six months later.