GENEVA, Switzerland , May 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Greensboro, North Carolina , and Honda Aircraft Company took center stage in the world of aviation today, as European sales of the HondaJet advanced light jet began at the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE) in Geneva, Switzerland . The first European customer for the Greensboro -developed and built aircraft was also introduced -- F-1 racer and business entrepreneur, Jenson Button .
The new world headquarters and R&D and production facilities Honda Aircraft Company is building at the Piedmont Triad International Airport (PTI) in Greensboro will serve as the worldwide delivery center for HondaJet and the location for all customer deliveries worldwide, beginning with U.S. customers in 2010, and followed by European customers in 2012.
Honda also announced that it will establish a new European network of three HondaJet-exclusive sales and service centers, a business structure modeled after the national network it has successfully established in the U.S. Customers throughout Europe will be serviced by dedicated HondaJet sales and service representatives strategically located in the United Kingdom , Germany and Spain .
" Europe is one of the fastest growing markets for light jets as demonstrated by the great number of customers who have contacted us over the past two years about owning a HondaJet," said Michimasa Fujino , Honda Aircraft Company president and CEO. "It has long been my dream to share the HondaJet with customers around the world, and I am very happy that we have received such a positive reception for the HondaJet from European customers. Their strong interest in the HondaJet demonstrates worldwide confidence in the quality of the product we are developing in Greensboro ."
Joining Honda at the announcement was F-1 racecar driver Jenson Button , who is forming a new aviation charter business and has placed orders for two HondaJets to support this new business venture. Button will take first delivery in late 2012.
"We are very enthusiastic about the future potential of the flight charter business and the unique capabilities of the HondaJet in helping us achieve a successful launch of this new enterprise," said Button. "I am especially impressed with the many advanced technologies on HondaJet that provide class-leading performance, efficiency, and agility without sacrificing environmental concerns. My personal experience with Honda and its dedication to performance, quality and engineering excellence in every detail clearly demonstrates the value in flying HondaJet."
Research and development on HondaJet has been underway at PTI since 2000 by Honda R&D Americas. In 2006, Honda Aircraft Company was officially established to oversee the further development, production and marketing of HondaJet. Honda Aircraft Company's new world headquarters, R&D facility and production plant are under construction at PTI, with first deliveries of HondaJet in the U.S. scheduled for 2010.
HondaJet first went on sale in the U.S. in 2006 and quickly generated well
over 100 orders for the
Honda Aircraft Company anticipates its first test flight of a conforming model in early 2009, with the overall timetable calling for the achievement of U.S. Federal Aviation type certification in 2010. Honda is concurrently pursuing European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certification with FAA certification.
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