Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Honda to join jet aviation market

Japan-based company Honda Motor Co. has announced that it will enter the aviation industry in the near future by producing a small jet aircraft. The company will begin taking orders this fall for the twin-engine HondaJet. The first jets are expected to be delivered in 2010.

A New York Times article, republished on the International Herald Tribune website says:
The HondaJet ... is the latest variation on Honda's tradition of offering all manner of motorized products. From its roots as an engine maker, Honda has built motorcycles, lawn mowers, cars, trucks, all-terrain vehicles and personal watercraft.

Regardless, the HondaJet, which has been under development for nine years, will face mushrooming competition in the very-light jet market, made up of planes weighing a maximum of 10,000 pounds, or 22,000 kilos, that can be flown by one pilot. The jets usually cost between $1.5 million and $4 million.

At least a dozen manufacturers, including Eclipse, Cessna and Embraer, plan to offer very light jets, which are aimed at owners of small businesses who do not need bigger planes or do not want to pay millions of dollars more to Gulfstream, Bombardier and Boeing.

Honda officials estimated that the very-light jet market would total about 200 planes per year and said that it hoped it could capture a good share of those sales. It would not be more specific about its sales target, nor say in which city the planes would be built.

But Honda said it hoped that the jet's unique features would set it apart. For one thing, the engines will be mounted over the wings, not over the tail as on many private jets. For another, the plane will make extensive use of composite materials instead of steel, which will make the HondaJet lighter and permit it to use less fuel.
The small jet will be capable of carrying seven people, including the pilot.

Source: Honda readies jet to join aviation market - International Herald Tribune

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