Honda Launches Its First Business Jet Elite
Driving a Honda is one thing, but have you tried flying one No, we’re not talking about a new CR-V with jet engines. Honda just launched their revamped small business jet for the Japanese market.
The launch party took place at Tokyo’s Haneda airport on the December 20th. Honda Aircraft Chief Executive Michimasa Fujino was very happy to describe the launch as “a major milestone for Honda’s aviation business”. He says that it’s always been a dream to “see the HondaJet flying in the skies above Honda’s home country of Japan”.
Honda’s Elite was first shown in May 2018. The development of the updated version of the HondaJet was quick as usual. It entered into service a little later in August of the same year. It is the first big revamp of the HondaJet since December 2015 when the jet entered into service for the first time.
Honda delivered 43 HondaJets in 2017, which was enough to beat Cessna’s Citation M2 in the small business jet class. However, in 2018 HondaJet deliveries were down by 30%. Honda Aircraft Chief Executive Michimasa Fujino says that the slowdown was expected and only happened because of the transition to the updated model – HondaJet Elite. They still haven’t released the data for the last year, but Fujino says that deliveries are going to get back on track in 2019 with all the new orders they expect to receive for their new HondaJet Elite.
The starting price of the aircraft is $5,250,000. The new features are:
- An auxiliary fuel tank that increases range by 264 miles
- A rise in maximum take-off weight to 10,714 pounds
- Redesigned interior with a small gallery
- A lavatory with a belted seat that can accommodate a fifth passenger.
Honda is expected to deliver 100 HondaJets in 2019. Orders have already been placed for 62 jets, with 10 from Japanese customers.
Another market that Fujino sees as a profitable one is China. Like Japan, it has a limited number of airports that make private jet travel expensive and inefficient. However, analysists have doubts about Honda’s plans for Chinese prospects. Basically, they think Honda will have to try another approach to the Asian market because the majority of business flights people make there is between major cities: Hong Kong to Beijing, Bangkok to Shanghai, and these flights cover longer distances than HondaJet Elite may offer.
China has plans to double the number of airports to 450 by 2030’s, but it’s still a lot of time for the aircraft industry. Another market that Honda might have plans for is the US with its 5,100 public airports that HondaJet can operate on.
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