Honda Seeks $1.2 Million to Build Jet in Greensboro

Greensboro's Piedmont Triad International Airport, home to Honda's corporate office, is competing with other sites in North Carolina, as well as sites in two other states, for the 300-man assembly plant.

Honda Aircraft announced last summer that it would open its headquarters at PTI, but the big prize - a manufacturing operation - was still to be determined.

Beginning in 2000, Honda quietly set up an engineering operation at PTI to design and build the jet. HondaJet's first test flight was in 2003 at PTI. The company employs scores of engineers next to the Atlantic Aero operations.

The company's CEO, Michimasa Fujino, has said he thinks this area has been ideal for the company, and he likes living here.

Even county commissioners who usually oppose incentives said Friday that they were delighted HondaJet is considering Guilford. Chairman Paul Gibson, a Democrat, said he was "giddy" about the project and called the potential effect on the county's economy overwhelming.

"I won't give 'em no resistance on this one," said Republican Commissioner Billy Yow, who often calls incentives corporate welfare and berates company executives who ask for them. "Because this is one that, if it comes here, will be a true asset to the county."

Commissioners will hear Honda's request Feb. 8. The Greensboro City Council will consider an economic development project Feb. 6, but officials declined to identify it.

Staff writer Donald W. Patterson contributed.

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