Honda Aero to establish headquarters, plant in North Carolina

Honda Aero, Inc. announced that it will establish its corporate headquarters and a state-of-the-art jet engine manufacturing plant in Burlington, North Carolina.  The new facility will produce advanced jet engines developed and marketed by GE Honda Aero Engines, LLC a joint venture between GE and Honda Aero, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Honda Motor Co., Ltd.

The 102,400-square foot Honda Aero facility will consist of 36,000 square feet of office space, a 58,400-square foot production plant, and an 8,000-square foot engine test cell.  Production at the new engine plant will begin in late 2010 with the manufacture of the advanced and efficient GE Honda HF120 turbofan engine in the 2,000-pound thrust class.

Honda Aero will employ approximately 70 associates when the plant reaches its initial production plan of 200 engines per year within about one year of production startup.  The company will invest approximately $27 million (U.S.) for construction of the headquarters and manufacturing facility, including equipment.

“This is a major step forward for our company, as we move to establish the home of our jet engine manufacturing operations here in Burlington”,  said Fumitaka Hasegawa, president and CEO of Honda Aero, Inc.

With a higher thrust-to-weight ratio, higher fuel efficiency, low emissions and the quietest operation in its thrust class, the GE Honda HF120 has been chosen to power two of the newest and most advanced products in the business jet market – Spectrum Aeronautical’s Freedom jet and HondaJet, to be produced by the Honda Aircraft Company, Inc., a separate Honda company.

The HF120 is a higher thrust successor to Honda’s original HF118 prototype engine, which has accumulated more than 4,000 hours of testing on the ground and in-flight.  Honda research on jet engine technology started in 1986, with development of the HF118 engine beginning in the late 1990s.  GE-Honda collaboration on the HF120 began in early 2005.  The first core test of the GE Honda HF120 was conducted in early 2007, followed by full-engine testing later in the year.

Combining Honda’s original small turbofan engine technology and GE’s 60 years of experience in the development and manufacture of jet engines, the GE Honda HF120 is the most fuel-efficient engine in its class.  Although there are currently no emission regulations for small turbofan engines, the HF120 is expected to surpass the future anticipated emissions standards by as much as 20 percent.

Honda Aero, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Honda Motor Co., Ltd.