HondaJet HA-420 : Buyer’s and Investor’s Guide

Alasdair Whyte
By Alasdair Whyte November 4, 2013 17:52

HondaJet HA-420 : Buyer’s and Investor’s Guide

With a price of $4.5 million, Honda’s brand new HondaJet is a very exciting aircraft. But it is not for the faint-hearted.

Pros

It really is a unique aircraft with good performance and the best cabin in the market. The parent company gives the project credibility that failed light jet manufacturer start-ups lacked.

Cons

Some love its unique look and technological innovations but others are less excited. All innovations carry risk and there are a lot of them on this aircraft.


Originally due for delivery in 2010, the HondaJet will be five years later than planned (assuming everything is fine from now on). As it is a clean sheet, innovative design with new engines from a GE-Honda joint venture, the OEM has some excuse for this but it has hit the project’s credibility. However, the financial strength of its parent means that the aircraft is almost certain to deliver.

The main thing that strikes you about the Honda are the over-the-wing engine mounts. By putting the engines higher up Honda says you get a more spacious, quieter cabin. However, while it certainly has ramp presence, not everyone likes the new look (some brokers feel the view from the back is particularly ugly).

Flying

The HondaJet is the fastest light jet – capable of flying at Mach 0.65 (778 kmph/483 mph) – and also can go as high as 43,000 feet allowing it to fly over bad weather that competitors need to fly round.

With a range of up to 1,180 nautical miles (2,185 km/1,358 mi), it can fly from New York to Miami or Paris to St Petersburg.

It also has a take-off distance of less than 4,000 ft and a landing distance of less than 3,000 feet which means it can land at most runways.

Travelling

You do not buy light jets to get a large cabin, but the HondaJet’s is surprisingly roomy.

Honda Aircraft has borrowed from its parent company’s knowledge of car interiors and come up with a refreshingly fresh interior. The standard configuration is for two forward-facing club seats, two rear seats – with very good leg room – and a single divan opposite the door. The seats are adjustable and comfortable.  It also has a toilet – something that not all light jets have.

There is a decent amount of space at the front and back for bags, especially compared to its light jet competitors. Passengers can also control air conditioning and lights with their mobile phones.

The interior of a HondaJet is surprisingly roomy.

The interior of a HondaJet is surprisingly roomy.

Owning

Buying a new jet is always risky. Buying a new jet from a new manufacturer is especially risky. However, Honda appears truly committed to being an aircraft OEM and has spent $120 million on its facilities in Greensborough, North Carolina. Honda’s market capitalisation is greater than all of the other business jet manufacturers combined and the company has a good record of supporting its products.

The manufacturer has an order book of around 100 aircraft so buyers ordering now for delivering in 2017 should be getting aircraft where teething problems have been solved.

In 2013, the company announced that it will be offering aircraft finance to US customers and this is a seriously advantage over competitor aircraft (it is expected to roll this out to other countries soon). It is relatively hard to find finance for light jets and this is definitely worth considering.

The HondaJet’s maximum range as shown from Los Angeles.

Unlike other manufacturers, HondaJet has chosen to sell through a network of distributors. Whilst this gives customers local support – the aim is to have one within 90 minutes for most buyers – some buyers are concerned about paying a six figure deposit to an independent dealer that is not guaranteed by Honda.

The first dealerships are in the US and Europe but Honda is expected to add more when the aircraft gets certification in other countries.

The aircraft also has a three year – or 1,500 hour – warranty.


Hard facts

Range: 1,611 mi/2,593 kms/1,400 nm
Maximum speed: 483 mph/778 kmph/mach 0.73
Typical passengers: 5-6
Typical crew:
1-2
Competitor aircraft: Phenom 100, Citation Mustang, Citation M2, CJ1+, CJ2+,
List price for a new HondaJet: $4.5 million
First delivery: Early 2015
Next slots: 2016/2017
World fleet: Six test aircraft (November 2013)


 

Alasdair Whyte
By Alasdair Whyte November 4, 2013 17:52

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