There are less creative ways to press reset than by staging pure aviation theatre. For five million dollars. But the new and improved HondaJet has done just that. This year, Michimasa Fujino, President and CEO of Honda Aircraft Company, launches the HondaJet Elite, an extraordinary upgrade to the Ferragamo stiletto-inspired HA-420.
With a travel range of 1,437 nautical miles and a maximum speed of 485 mph, the HondaJet Elite reaches an altitude of 8,000 feet, maxing out at 43,000 feet. The seven-seater also incorporates efficient aerodynamic design with over-the-wing engine mounts that decrease drag, an all-glass touchscreen cockpit for two, a fully enclosed belted lavatory—unavailable on most light jets, and the Bongiovi Aviation system that converts interior panels into speakers.
Having achieved FAA certification and delivered 17 jets in the first half of 2018 alone, the HondaJet Elite is making headway among the world’s ever-expanding millionaire class. Fujino talks exclusively to Haute Time about pioneering technological advancement, high performance, and being the most delivered aircraft in its class.
Dellvin Roshon Williams (DRW): HondaJet Elite is the most delivered luxury light jet in its class. Why?
Michimasa Fujino (MF): When I set out to design a business jet, I wanted to create new value in the aviation industry by providing users with the most advanced technologies such as state-of-the-art aerodynamics and composite structure. The HondaJet is a clean sheet design and the result of years of aeronautical research.
Our meticulous attention to detail, design, and engineering offer customers the best performance, efficiency, and comfort in its class. Also, dedication to bettering the industry and to improving the lives of our customers accounts for the HondaJet’s success.
DRW: Are we seeing a transition from luxury large-cabin jets to lighter luxury aircraft?
MF: There has been an increase in interest in more efficient business jet travel options. For example, the majority of business jet usage is less than 1,000 nautical miles. If you are traveling with a few passengers, it’s more practical and efficient to use a light jet rather than a large cabin jet. The HondaJet is as high performance and comfortable as a large cabin jet, but is also much more efficient and appealing to not only individual owners but also fleet & charter operators.
DRW: How has HondaJet Elite’s success translated in the global market?
MF: Due to the innovation and technology implemented on the HondaJet, interest in the aircraft in the Middle East, which is not generally a light jet market, is rapidly increasing. It is a more efficient option and is perfect for city pairs within GCC, has a sporty look and is attractive to the region.
In Asia, the Honda brand is very strong which has created a lot of brand recognition across the region. Commitment to innovation and technology are all contributing factors to Asia’s interest for both individual and fleet sales.
The Middle East and Asia are both new areas of growth for the HondaJet. While sales in the US remains strong, interest in these regions provides us with the opportunity to increase awareness of the benefits of light jets and to expand sales and service of the HondaJet.
DRW: What would be the key differences between HondaJet Elite buyers and large or mid-sized jets buyers?
MF: Buyers in the light jet market are often owner-operators who are interested in personal and business use; those buying light jets are usually looking for a more efficient way of regional travel, including access to smaller airports; and purchasers of light jets may be looking to lessen their impact on the environment while also enjoying the benefits of private air travel.
DRW: Are there any technological innovations that you would like to bring to the market?
FM: We are always looking for ways to improve personal mobility through technological innovation. Our goal is to continue to create new value in the industry and we are constantly working on new technologies such as advanced aerodynamics, new structural material, automation, and advanced controls. We’re thankful that business aviation users continue to choose HondaJet.