Fractional Operator Grounds Its HondaJet Fleet; Honda Rebuts


In a story with multiple twists and turns, fractional-ownership firm Jet It voluntarily grounded its fleet of HondaJets this week after a runway excursion on landing on May 17 that did not involve one of the company’s aircraft. Meanwhile, the HondaJet Owners and Pilots Association (HJOPA) has called for a safety stand-down meeting among its members, citing eight accidents involving HondaJets over the last 12 months, including last week’s landing accident. None involved serious injuries, and only last week’s runway overrun in Summerville, South Carolina, resulted in the aircraft being written off. It caught fire after hitting a berm. Of the remaining seven accidents, the Aviation Safety Network reported three as resulting in substantial damage, three causing minimal damage, and in two cases, the damage is listed as “unknown.” The South Carolina incident involved a relatively short 5,000-foot runway where the HondaJet is reported to have hydroplaned on rollout.

Where the story gets sticky is a history of friction between Jet It and Honda Aircraft. According to Private Jet Card Comparisons (an online resource for end users), in an email to shareowners, Jet It’s CEO Glenn Gonzales called Honda’s customer support “grossly inadequate,” after he announced plans last fall to switch from the HondaJet to the Embraer Phenom 300 light jet. Honda subsequently sued Jet It last December for an alleged breach of contract in reselling one of its Honda aircraft. The suit was settled out of court. Gonzales also told shareholders that the HJOPA wanted their aircraft to be grounded—a fact the association executive director, Julie Hughes, denies.

“We have not communicated with Jet It on this issue,” Hughes said, “and were surprised to see them inaccurately characterize our position. We do not want to ground the airplane. We believe the airplane is safe. We want to use data from the incidents as a basis for enhancing pilot training and decision making. In no way do we think the HondaJet should be grounded.”

A spokesperson for Honda Aircraft said in a statement, “Jet It’s decision to ground their HondaJet fleet was made independently by Jet It. Importantly, neither Honda Aircraft Company nor any aviation authority has recommended this grounding. Therefore, we have no comment about the decision by Jet It to ground its fleet.”

Mark Phelps
Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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  1. Well, this is from inside the company. It would seem the stand down was a smoke screen.

    Thank you all for extending through today, at the Company’s request, following Monday’s furlough decision. Your dedication and hard work reflect the best of what Jet It represents. Today, we made the difficult decision to expand this mandatory suspension from work to the remainder of the Jet It team. Immediately, you are not permitted to perform any work for the company, and you therefore will not receive or accrue any wages beyond today’s date.
    Please do not report to work starting tomorrow
    Wednesday, May 24, 2023. Please also monitor your personal email inboxes as we will soon be sharing follow-up information, FAQs, and other resources.
    We are beyond grateful for all of your efforts and wish you much success and godspeed.

    And then this from the pilots.

    To All Jet It Pilots
    4:57 PM
    This is not accurate, because the incident that occurred on Thursday was impossible for a Jet It crew to perform. We could not attempt to make that landing under our current opspecs. Our opspecs prevented us from even attempting this operation and you and Steve were made aware of this immediately after the incident. Please add some integrity and honesty to the conversation.
    At least a little honesty that we messed up as a company that mismanaged our customers would be appreciated. Because you are a paying member of HJOPA means the message has zero value. Thursday’s incident had zero to do with my firing, and your decisions lead to our unemployment because we were non-profitable.
    You briefed me on company values, but in the end it was a lie.“

    As Paul Harvey use to say “that’s the rest of the story”

  2. sounds like someone can’t pay the bills and is using some outside excuse to park airplanes..