By Stephanie Chao, The China Post
TAIPEI, Taiwan — Honda Aircraft Co. officially launched its lightweight-jet — the HondaJet — in Taiwan on Friday. The aircraft is aimed to appeal to businesspeople who want a quick means of jetsetting across the region. The company’s CEO, Michimasa Fujino, the mastermind behind HondaJet’s design 20 years ago, also arrived in Taiwan to introduce the HondaJet to members of the press and potential buyers. The cabin is spacious, according to Taoyuan City Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan, who arrived to tour the HondaJet at its launch event in Songshan Airport, adding that the jet was also equipped with a compact restroom at the rear end and has technology enabling a quiet cruising experience. The jet will enable its occupants to fly to neighboring business hubs such as Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Japan as it is able to fly for three consecutive hours, he said.
In terms of private jet sales in Taiwan, Cheng said the target market is likely to be Taiwanese businesspeople or those who have businesses or factories based in mainland China.
The market could also help expand Taiwan’s offshore island aviation routes, he added. According to Honda Aircraft’s Fujino, HondaJet is equipped with an “over-the-wing” engine mount, a breakthrough design in aeronautics engineered by Honda and the culmination of more than 20 years of technological innovations and aviation design. Also, “natural laminar flow” technology was used in the production of the aircraft’s main wing airfoil and fuselage nose shape, which contributes to the jet’s high cruising speed and increased fuel efficiency — it is able to save 17 percent on fuel over similar airctaft. Priced at US$4.5 million (around NT$130 million), HondaJet’s price-tag is at least half that of other comparable jets in its class. Fujino has said he hopes the comparatively affordable price could be appealing to younger Taiwanese businesspeople.
The jet can perform with a maximum cruising speed of 422 KTAS, fly a NBAA IFR certified range at 2,265 kilometers and has a maximum cruise altitude of 43,000 feet. The four-person seater jet provides a spacious cabin, with ample legroom.
The “Garmin G3000 system” incorporated in the cockpit can also decrease flight crew costs, as the technology enables the jet to be piloted by only one person.