Air Capital Insider

HondaJet competing in market dominated by Cessna M2

A HondaJet on display at the 2016 Aero Expo underway at Toluca International Airport in Mexico.
A HondaJet on display at the 2016 Aero Expo underway at Toluca International Airport in Mexico. Courtesy photo

Honda Aircraft Co. has added a second country where it can sell its new HondaJet light business jet.

The Greensboro, N.C., company said Wednesday the HondaJet received type certification from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority of Mexico. The Mexican certification follows Federal Aviation Administration type certification in December 2015.

Honda Aircraft also named Aerolineas Ejecutivas to provide sales, support and service of the HondaJet in Mexico. The Mexico City-based business aviation company’s MexJet fractional ownership program is also a customer of Bombardier Learjet in Wichita.

To date, the U.S. and Mexico are the only countries where the HondaJet has received type certification from aviation regulators.

“That Mexican certification is nice to have … but it’s not going to significantly change the sales picture,” independent aviation analyst Brian Foley said. “North America, principally the U.S., is the largest market” for light and midsize business jets.

According to aviation forecaster Rolland Vincent, Honda Aircraft has delivered four HondaJets since FAA certification, based on JetNet iQ, of which Vincent is managing director.

Honda Aircraft officials did not return messages for comment Thursday afternoon.

Honda Aircraft has not disclosed how many orders it has for its $4.5 million jet, certification of which came 12 years after a proof-of-concept HondaJet took flight in December 2003.

Since it began HondaJet deliveries, Vincent and Foley said Honda Aircraft has been quiet in the market.

But “it’s still pretty early days,” Vincent said. “They’re just getting out there.”

Vincent and Foley said it may be two to three years before the HondaJet is at full production. Vincent anticipates full production to mean about 50 HondaJets a year, while Foley looks for between 24 and 36 a year.

It’s not clear what impact the HondaJet will have on its chief competitors: Wichita-based Textron Aviation’s Cessna Citation M2 and Embraer’s Phenom 100. So far, Vincent said, the Citation M2 leads in that category of aircraft.

“The M2 is actually out-delivering in that segment,” Vincent said.

According to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association’s 2015 shipment report, Textron Aviation delivered 41 Citation M2s last year, compared with 12 Embraer Phenom 100s.

Jerry Siebenmark: 316-268-6576, @jsiebenmark