HondaJet Progress May Help Greensboro, N.C., Economy

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Honda Aircraft hopes to have multiple conforming HondaJets in the air this summer for use in FAA certification testing, still aiming for first customer deliveries by late 2010. The company's research and development facility was completed at Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro, N.C., earlier this month and plans to build its production facility while working with the FAA toward certification. Honda facilities at the airport will eventually capture 400,000 square feet as the result of a $100 million Honda investment that should produce about 500 full-time positions (each averaging $75,000/year) when production begins. A local community college is being tapped to establish training programs for future Honda facility staff. The presence of Honda at the airport is hoped to encourage area business expansion and has already resulted in at least one company move to the area. A recent count listed more than 50 companies doing business near Piedmont Triad, injecting the local economy with $1 billion annually and supporting 4,000 employees. Local officials are hoping those numbers are on the rise.

Companies already showing a presence at Triad include Cessna, B/E Aerospace, Timco Aviation Services and Atlantic Aero, Inc. FedEx is a major contributor, expecting to open a new facility at the airport in the middle of next year (2009). "Our aviation inquiries are up as far as other aviation-related companies looking in the area," Dan Lynch, president of the Greensboro Economic Development Alliance, told the Winston-Salem Journal.