By Mary Grady, Contributing editor
Honda Aircraft Co. is working to expand its facilities in Greensboro, N.C., the company said last week, starting construction of a maintenance, repair and overhaul facility to service the coming fleet of HondaJets. The 90,000-square-foot $20-million building will support up to 12 aircraft at a time, and also has space for workshops, a pilot's lounge, conference rooms, a flight-planning area, and spare-parts storage. The facility will operate seven days a week, around the clock, Honda said, and will be ready for occupancy by the second half of next year, in advance of first deliveries. "It is my commitment to build the best maintenance, repair and overhaul facility to serve the HondaJet customer," said Honda Aircraft CEO Michimasa Fujino.
According to HondaJet, the new airplane will be "the fastest, highest-flying, most quiet and most fuel efficient in its class." The jet is powered by two GE Honda HF120 turbofan jet engines, and is equipped with customized Garmin G3000 avionics. The HondaJet is Honda's first commercial aircraft. Earlier this year, Fujino said the company was going after 25 percent of the worldwide light jet market. "I'm very optimistic about our prospects," Fujino said. "We're doing with HondaJet what the Civic did to American cars from the 1960s. Our competitors are still producing with technology from the 1990s." The jet will cost about 30 percent less to operate than competitors, Fujino said.