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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 August 2006, 09:48 GMT 10:48 UK
Honda plane to take off in 2010
Michimasa Fujino (right), the new president of Honda Aircraft Company
Michimasa Fujino has worked on the project for 20 years
Honda is setting up a new US business to oversee the production of its mini passenger jet and says it plans to launch the plane in 2010.

The Japanese car firm revealed last month that it was branching out into the aviation sector, with plans to build a seven-seat light aircraft.

The enterprise is being led by engineer Michimasa Fujino, who has researched the HondaJet for the past 20 years.

Honda Aircraft Company will be based in Greensboro, North Carolina.

'Higher standard'

Honda is one of many companies looking at the private jet market, which is seen as an increasingly attractive mode of transport for US company bosses needing to criss-cross the country.

Honda says the plane will be roomier, faster and more fuel efficient than conventional aircraft in its class.

Production of the HondaJet will take place at the Piedmont Triad International Airport, where the prototype model was built and flight tests have been carried out for the past three years.

The new business will also oversee Honda's partnership with Piper Aircraft, which will focus on marketing and selling the plane.

"The goal of this alliance is to provide a new level of sales and service to meet the needs of jet customers with the goal of setting a higher standard for the quality of the ownership experience," the firm said.

Honda will start taking orders for the plane in October when it will also reveal its price.

HondaJet has yet to be approved by safety regulators, a process which could take up to four years.





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