HondaJet sees China, SE Asia demand rising

By BLOOMBERG

SINGAPORE • HondaJet, the business aircraft developed by Honda Motor Co, sees big prospects in China and South-East Asia as wealthy individuals seek out the lightweight plane as an efficiency tool.

There’s a “huge potential,” Honda Aircraft Co CEO Michimasa Fujino said in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s Haslinda Amin at the Singapore Airshow yesterday.

“I’m looking at the next 10 years, approximately 700 or 800 units will be sold in these territories.”

With leather seats for as many as seven passengers, the company bills the US$4.5 million (RM17.59 million) business jet as the fastest, quietest and most fuel-efficient in its class.

The plane made its maiden Japanese flight in April 2015 after three decades in development, and received type certification from the US Federal Aviation Administration agency in December that year.

Entrepreneurs and young businessmen are starting to realise 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 US, only about 2.5% of those in China are using their own business jets, compared to about 18% for some western countries like the US, the executive said.

“That percentage gap should be decreased in the future,” Fujino said.