HondaJet Nears Production

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Honda's slow and deliberate progress toward production of the massive company's first airplane will hit a major milestone later this year or in early 2012 with the hiring of up to 300 assembly workers at the Greensboro plant. The company invited local media on a tour of its sprawling 220,000-square-foot facility on Tuesday and officials said they intend to hire local workers for the line, which is planned to turn out 70 to 100 HondaJets each year by 2014.

The first prototype flew more than five years ago and Honda has been a prominent exhibitor at major aviation shows but there's been less hype than usual for a new design. Honda is banking on the efficiency of the engines it has developed with partner GE and the unique wing-mounted pylon design to carve a niche in the light jet market.