EBACE Convention News

Customers ‘sticking with’ HondaJet

 - May 13, 2009, 11:01 AM

Honda Aircraft, which announced last month a one-year delay in certification of its HondaJet as a result of supplier issues, remains confident, buoyed by an order book for “well over 100 aircraft.” According to Stephen Keeney, senior manager for corporate affairs, “the vast majority of our customers are sticking with us.”

Many of those more recent customer orders, said Keeney, are actually prompted by the current economic recession. Some customers are looking to replace a larger jet that is more expensive to maintain and operate than a HondaJet, while others will be adding a HondaJet to their fleet as a means of reducing the cost of operation, he said.

The manufacturer is highly visible here at EBACE (Booth No. 230) and promoting its $3.9 million light twinjet for certification and initial deliveries in late 2011.

Despite problems with suppliers–most of them second- and third-tier vendors–Honda Aircraft is moving ahead with the project. The company recently completed its research-and-development facility at its Greensboro, North Carolina headquarters.

The only HondaJet currently flying–a nonconforming prototype–has accumulated more than 425 flight hours, and work on the first two conforming production aircraft has already begun at the newly opened R&D center. The R&D facility will also hold the company’s level-D, full-motion flight training simulator, which should be ready for use in late 2011.

Honda Aircraft expects to break ground this summer on the 250,000-sq-ft production center in Greensboro and anticipates completion of the facility next year.