Honda Aircraft has started production of the first customer HondaJet and will have three or four ready for delivery by the time the small jet is certified at the end of 2013. Problems with the fan blades prompted a delay in the certification of the GE Honda Aero engines that are fundamental to the efficiency of the design and set back the test schedule, but President Michimasa Fujino told a news conference on Monday at NBAA 2012 that the engine is now close to certification and the rest of the schedule is catching up. Despite the delays (certification was originally planned for late 2012) and changes in the market, Fujino was typically upbeat about the project, which is more than 25 years old.
Fujino said Honda expected the process to be difficult and anticipated there might be delays, but it hasn't lost sight of the original goal. "Honda is known for its methodical approach in engineering and processes," said Fujino. "To this end, our commitment to deliver the best possible product that will bring new value to aviation remains. We have taken the necessary time and effort with the HondaJet program to do it right and give our customers the finest product with the best ownership experience possible."