...Mini-Jet Movement Validated...

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As significant as the competitive aspects of the deal are, the announcement also helps to validate the somewhat speculative nature of the mini-jet market. There's more than opportunism at work in Honda's official entry to the aviation market. According to Honda CEO Takeo Fukui, it was the dream of company founder Soichiro Honda to build airplanes. He told the news conference that working with jet engines helps to motivate Honda engineers and lend more prestige to the company brand (and perhaps a fair amount of buzz). Cessna's own announcement 18 months ago that it would build the mini-Citation Mustang has so far collected about 200 orders for the $2.3 million aircraft (the most expensive in the field), by far outdistancing any other Cessna model. "It certainly confirms our view that this part of the market is important to the future of the industry," said Cessna spokeswoman Jessica Meyers. Not since the light-single craze of the late 1940s (Sport Pilot-category zeal yet to be determined) has there been the wholesale creation of a new market segment -- and with such high hopes.