- F-1 racer Jenson Button to be first European customer -
May 20, 2008, Switzerland
GENEVA, Switzerland, May 20, 2008 – Honda Aircraft Company, Inc., began European sales of the HondaJet advanced light jet at the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE) by introducing its first customer in the region – F-1 race driver and business entrepreneur, Jenson Button. To provide sales and service support to its customers in Europe, the company announced that it will establish a new European network of three HondaJet-exclusive sales and service centers.
After mutual discussions, both Honda Aircraft Company and Mr. Button agreed to end discussions concerning the purchase of a HondaJet. Furthermore, as of May 2010, European deliveries of the HondaJet are scheduled to begin in 2013.
Michimasa Fujino, Honda Aircraft Company president and CEO
Honda Aircraft Company also announced an expansion of its relationship with FlightSafety International, the world’s leading pilot training company, to provide its customers with flight training in Europe. Further, Honda debuted a new in-flight entertainment (IFE) system concept with cutting-edge features.
"Europe is one of the world’s fastest growing markets for light jets and we have a great number of customers who have contacted us over the past two years about owning a HondaJet," said Michimasa Fujino, Honda Aircraft Company president and CEO. "We approached the selection of our sales and service partners with great attention to detail. And I tried to find people with a challenging spirit, who share our passion for this product and our passion to create a new and higher standard for the private jet aircraft ownership experience in Europe."
HondaJet European Sales and Service Network
Advancing its commitment to provide HondaJet customers with class-leading levels of satisfaction in sales and service support for light jets, the company is partnering with three European companies to establish a network of stand-alone, state-of-the-art centers dedicated exclusively to the sales and service of HondaJet. These new regional facilities are scheduled to begin operation in late 2012 in time for the first European HondaJet deliveries, and will be strategically located in close proximity to customers in the regions surrounding the U.K., Germany and Spain.
Northern Europe and the United Kingdom: Honda Aircraft Company will partner with TAG Aviation SA to establish HondaJet U.K. & Northern Europe at Farnborough Airport, U.K. This HondaJet facility will provide sales and service support for HondaJet customers from the United Kingdom, Ireland, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland.
Central Europe: Honda Aircraft Company will partner with Rheinland Air Service GmbH to establish HondaJet Central Europe in Frankfurt, Germany. Central European HondaJet customers from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia will be supported by HondaJet Central Europe.
Southern Europe: Honda Aircraft Company will partner with Aviastec to establish HondaJet Southern Europe in the Madrid area of Spain. HondaJet Southern Europe will accommodate the needs of customers from Spain, Portugal, France, Monaco, Italy, Greece, and Turkey.
First HondaJet Customer in Europe – F-1 Racer Jenson Button
Joining Honda at the announcement was F-1 racecar driver Jenson Button, who is forming a new aviation charter business and has placed orders for two HondaJets to support this new business venture. Button will take first delivery in late 2012.
"We are very enthusiastic about the future potential of the flight charter business and the unique capabilities of the HondaJet in helping us achieve a successful launch of this new enterprise," said Button. "I am especially impressed with the many advanced technologies on HondaJet that provide class-leading performance, efficiency, and agility without sacrificing environmental concerns. My personal experience with Honda and its dedication to performance, quality and engineering excellence in every detail clearly demonstrates the value in flying HondaJet."
New Flight Training Operation in Europe
Honda also announced the expansion of its partnership with FlightSafety International to cover pilot training for all European customers. FlightSafety International is developing a Level-D full-motion flight simulator for HondaJet. The first simulator will be installed at Honda Aircraft Company’s new headquarters facility, and a European location will be announced in the future.
"We are pleased to offer our European customers the world's highest quality of pilot training through our partnership with FlightSafety International," Fujino said. "This symbolizes our commitment to provide class-leading support in every aspect of the light-jet ownership experience.”
New HondaJet Entertainment Concept
Honda further unveiled at EBACE a cutting-edge in-flight entertainment (IFE) system concept. The system offers passengers personal control of in-cabin video and audio entertainment, climate systems, and cabin/cockpit communications through high-definition touch panel displays. The touch panel displays deploy from the ceiling and provide passengers with access to video and audio programs.
"I hope this cabin mockup demonstrates how we are working to innovate every aspect of the customer experience," said Fujino. "We look forward to receiving customer feedback on the system."
Honda Aircraft Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Honda Motor Co., Ltd., began sales of the advanced and innovative HondaJet in October 2006 in the U.S. and has quickly amassed orders for well over 100 aircraft. HondaJet is Honda's first-ever commercial aircraft and lives up to the company's reputation for dynamic performance together with superior efficiency. "When I designed the HondaJet, I did not compromise performance and comfort. I did not compromise cost and quality. The concept for HondaJet was to offer both high speed performance and high fuel efficiency with superior comfort," said Fujino. Offering class-leading performance, fuel efficiency, interior cabin space and cargo capacity, HondaJet offers European business and personal light jet owners and operators a maximum cruise speed of 420KTAS (773 kph / 483 mph) and luxurious accommodations for five passengers and two crew in its executive configuration, including a fully private lavatory.
HondaJet incorporates many innovative technological advances in aviation design, including a unique over-the-wing engine-mount configuration that dramatically improves aircraft performance and fuel efficiency by significantly reducing aerodynamic drag in flight. This innovative approach to airframe design also lowers ground-detected noise when overhead and allows for a more spacious cabin and greater cargo capacity. HondaJet is powered by two highly fuel-efficient GE Honda HF120 turbofan jet engines.
Honda Aircraft Company anticipates its first test flight of a conforming model in early 2009, with the overall timetable calling for the achievement of U.S. Federal Aviation type certification in 2010. The company is scheduled to begin deliveries of HondaJet to U.S. customers in 2010. Significantly, Honda is concurrently pursuing European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certification with FAA certification.
All HondaJet deliveries worldwide will take place at Honda Aircraft Company's new world delivery center, currently under construction along with its new world headquarters, R&D facility and production plant at the Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro, North Carolina, U.S. The world headquarters and R&D facility are scheduled for completion in summer 2008, with the production plant and delivery center scheduled to be completed in late 2009.