Honda Aircraft Co. has sold 16 HondaJets to French air taxi provider Wijet, which serves 1,200 airports in Europe and North Africa, and plans to replace a fleet of 15 Cessnas in the coming 18 months.
The deal was signed Feb. 8 during the Singapore Airshow, marking a milestone for the design three decades in the making that was certified in 2015, was nominated for the Robert J. Collier Trophy in 2016, and had booked 58 sales by the fall of 2017. Wijet CEO Patrick Hersent told The Straits Times that the five-passenger HondaJet’s range (1,223 nautical miles) and efficiency were key selling points.
Honda Aircraft President and CEO Michimasa Fujino said the Wijet order is the largest HondaJet order to date from a single operator, and marks a “huge step” for the company.
AOPA flew the HondaJet in 2016, and noted impressive performance including a 26-minute climb to 43,000 feet, and a certified top speed of 422 knots true that beats rivals by 20 knots or more. The HondaJet also beats most competitors on fuel burn in cruise flight, typically around 610 pounds (about 91 gallons) per hour. The HondaJet’s efficiency is partly due to the over-the-wing engine mount that was among the design's key innovations.