SINGAPORE – HondaJet, the business plane developed by Honda Motor Co., sees big prospects in China and Southeast Asia as wealthy individuals seek out the lightweight plane as an efficiency tool.
There’s a “huge potential,” Honda Aircraft Co. Chief Executive Officer Michimasa Fujino said in an interview with Bloomberg Television at the Singapore Airshow on Tuesday. “I’m looking at the next 10 years, approximately 700 or 800 units will be sold in these territories.”
Honda later clarified in an email message that the 700 to 800 units the CEO was referring to was a market forecast and not the company’s own sales.
With leather seats for as many as seven passengers, the company bills the $4.5 million jet as the fastest, quietest and most fuel-efficient in its class. The plane made its maiden flight in April 2015 after three decades in development, and received type certification from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration in December that year.
Entrepreneurs and young businessmen are starting to realize that a small business jet isn’t a luxury, “but more like a productivity tool to boost their business,” Fujino said.
While the number of high net worth individuals in China is almost the same as in the U.S., only about 2.5 percent of those in China are using their own business jets, compared with about 18 percent for some western countries like the U.S, the executive said.
“That percentage gap should be decreased in the future,” Fujino said.