/
Insight

Automotive Titan Stakes Aviation Claim

Fri, 12/01/2017 - 18:04

Mexico has the second-largest private aviation fleet in the world, and it keeps expanding. As private aviation users analyze the best bet for their aircraft purchases, they would do well to prepare for the long-term by choosing a modern plane, says Ryan Ramos, Director of Sales, Latin America and Southeast USA for HondaJet.
“Mexico is very well-established in the aviation sector,” says Ramos. “As the economy continues to grow, its need for aircraft will also increase. Those with aging aircraft will eventually need to be replaced and in those cases, the HondaJet would be the perfect investment in a modern aircraft that incorporates state-of-the-art technology.”
Private planes are often the ideal solution for those looking for the flexible operations that commercial aviation cannot easily provide, allowing travelers to readily access destinations not served by commercial airlines. According to DGAC, the number of private aircraft in Mexico grew by 2.9 percent in 2016 in comparison to the previous year for a total of 7,092 units.
Honda has had its eye on the aviation sector for a while. More than two decades after envisioning the creation of a jet, the company delivered the first HA-420 HondaJet in December 2015. In its typical configuration, the HondaJet can accommodate one crew member and five passengers. An alternative seating configuration offers space for one crew member and six passengers. The aircraft’s nose compartment has a baggage capacity of 0.25m3 while the aft baggage compartment has a 1.61m3 capacity, the largest in its class.
This aircraft featured state-of-the-art technologies, including Honda’s patented over-the-wing engine mount (OTWEM). According to the company, the engine’s location increases fuselage space that can be used to expand the cabin or for external cargo areas while reducing cabin noise for a more pleasant journey. Another innovative feature is the aircraft’s natural laminar flow (NLF) wing and nose. The aerodynamic NLF design helps reduce drag, making the jet faster and more efficient. Its lightweight structure is achieved through an advanced composite fuselage, which reduces the aircraft’s weight and manufacturing complexity. The combination of the OTWEM and NLF innovations allows the HondaJet to achieve a maximum cruise speed of 422KTAS at 30,000ft. Its takeoff distance is less than 4,000ft and it has a climbing rate of 3,990ft per minute.
Globally, passengers seem to like these innovations. “Passengers are looking for comfort, technology and reach. For instance, they want to be able to reach many locations in a single day. They want their trips to be faster. Furthermore, the HondaJet has smaller operational costs than other aircraft in the same category,” says Ramos. For those reasons, he adds, “the aircraft has been very well-received. We have 58 aircraft operating all over the world, mainly in North America, Europe and Latin America. Our customers like the speed and comfort the aircraft offers and they are increasingly recognizing its value.”
The positive reception has made an impact. “The HondaJet was the most delivered aircraft in its category during the first half of 2017. It is a game-changer that offers features that no other aircraft in the light-jet category offers.”
The company is focusing on expanding the jet’s share of regional markets. “We are working throughout Latin America and we expect to eventually reach all countries in the region. We are working on market awareness and developing new markets,” says Ramos. This includes Mexico. “The HondaJet entered Mexico at the beginning of 2016 with three aircraft and we have received great feedback in the country.”
In Ramos’ opinion, Mexico is a sure bet for the HondaJet. “The HondaJet is ideal for the Mexican market as the airplane meets most mission requirements for Mexico. From the country’s two largest private aviation hubs in the country, Toluca and Monterrey, travelers can reach all corners of the country, which will make it very attractive for the Mexican market.” HondaJet has ambitious plans to increase its presence, not just in the region, but around the world. “We do not have a specific forecast for aircraft sales but worldwide we expect to sell between 50 to 55 new aircraft within our next fiscal year to March 31, 2018,” says Ramos.