/

Honda’s first jet takes flight

AFP-JIJI

Honda’s first business jet has already made its maiden flight ahead of its expected certification and delivery next year, the company said in a press release over the weekend.

The 84-minute flight of the HondaJet took place Friday near the world headquarters of Honda Aircraft, the aviation subsidiary of the automobile giant, in Greensboro, North Carolina, the statement said.

“With this first flight, the HondaJet program has entered the next exciting phase as we prepare for delivery,” Honda Aircraft President and CEO Michimasa Fujino said. “Today’s celebration is the culmination of extensive engineering and production efforts, and this is an important achievement in bringing the world’s most advanced light jet to market.”

The HondaJet is being offered for sale in North America and Europe through the HondaJet dealer network, the statement said.

The plane, which seats up to five passengers in a standard configuration, has a maximum cruising speed of 483 mph (777 kph) and can fly at a maximum altitude of 43,000 feet (13,106 meters), it said.

Priced at $4.5 million, it has drawn more than 100 orders from businesses and affluent customers, according to Japanese media reports.