HondaJet service moves to area

HondaJet East, a subsidiary of aviation support services company Flightline Group, announced Thursda

HondaJet East, a subsidiary of aviation support services company Flightline Group, announced Thursday that Albany International Airport will be the home of its new sales and service facility, which will service HondaJets throughout the Northeast.

Company officials at a news conference at the airport Thursday said the project should cost about $6 million. HondaJet East plans to build 12,000 square feet of hangar space with room for a expansion and about 6,000 square feet for a sales salon and office space. The center is expected to employ about 30 people to sell and service HondaJets.

State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, R-Brunswick, spoke at the news conference and praised the economic benefits HondaJet East could bring to the area.

“HondaJet East’s commitment will bring more than two dozen high-paying jobs to the area, [increasing] our tax rolls by nearly $1 million and encouraging other air travel-related companies to call the Capital Region home,” Bruno said.

The jet business is new for Honda Motor Co. Ltd., which first created Honda Aircraft Company in 2006. The planes that will be serviced and sold at the HondaJet East facility in Colonie will be very light jets with luxury interiors. The HondaJets have not yet been approved by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, but according to Honda officials the first test flight of the new model jets will be in 2009, FAA certification is expected by 2010 with deliveries scheduled to begin later that year.

Colonie is one of five HondaJet regional sales and service centers that are planned throughout the United States. Company officials said other centers will be located in Phoenix, Ariz.; Salt Lake City, Utah; Aurora, Ill.; and Tallahassee, Fla.; Phoenix; and Salt Lake City.

HondaJet East Vice President of Sales John Hunt, who will manage the local facility, said all of the centers are expected to be constructed at the same time with the goal of operation by the second half of 2010.

“[Colonie] is an ideal sweet spot for owners who are in the metropolitan New York City area and the Boston area,” Hunt said.

Albany County Airport Authority Chairman David Langdon described the announcement as a significant step in the Authority’s economic development plan because it “establishes Albany as a recognized leader in the rapidly advancing world of general aviation aircraft design and air travel.”

Honda is the second very light jet manufacturer to place a service center in Colonie, the first being Albuquerque, N.M.-based Eclipse Aviation, which unveiled its $8 million service center at Albany International Airport in February.

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