Honda’s interest in branching out into the aircraft market began around 20 years ago when their prototype aircraft the Honda MH02 was fabricated and assembled at Mississippi State University’s Raspet Flight Research Laboratory.
By late 2003 the prototype HondaJet had been developed and successfully made its maiden flight. 3 years later Honda announced its plans to go commercial. Establishing the Honda Aircraft Company and setting up production facilities in the United States. The country with the biggest market for business jets.
The HondaJet differs from its rivals in one key technological aspect, the location of the engines, which unlike conventional planes are mounted on top of the wings. This makes a ‘greener‘ aircraft which increases fuel efficiency and economy by about 15 percent and allows cabin space to be 15 to 20 percent roomier than its competitors. With a cruise speed of 778 kph — 420 knots — the jet is also 10 percent faster than the average biz jet and more resistant to air turbulence.
After years of research and testing, the Honda Motor Co., has announced that it has already won two to three years of orders for what it calls “flying sports cars” and believes that the business will turn profitable before the end of the decade. With high hopes to also attract strong sales from Brazil and India, markets that are offering high growth potential.
The aviation business is on track to turn profitable five years after it begins delivering planes, which could be as soon as next year, Michimasa Fujino, president of Honda Aircraft, said in an interview in Tokyo on Wednesday. Deliveries of the Honda jets, originally planned to begin this year, have been delayed because the company is awaiting approval from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.
Though he declined to specify the number of orders received so far, Fujino said sales of the $4.5 million jet may reach 80 to 90 units annually in a few years.
Honda, Japan’s third-largest car maker, is betting that lessons drawn from its main automotive business will help the company compete against Textron Inc.’s Cessna and Brazil’s Embraer SA. Fujino believes the business jet market has a rosy future predicting that in four to five years, Honda may begin fleet sales as the increase of chartered flights turns business jets into forms of “air taxis.”
Sources: Japan Times, Hondajet.Honda.com, Wikipedia
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