Fast-growing fractional operator Volato plans to add the HondaJet Echelon to its fleet of Honda VLJs.
Fractional operator Volato has signed a letter of intent for the Echelon from Honda Aircraft Company.
Honda Aircraft officially announced the name of the new long-range light jet this morning during a press conference at the National Business Aviation Association’s annual conference in Las Vegas.
Executives of the OEM said they already have 350 letters of intent from prospective buyers.
Volato CEO Matt Liotta confirmed to Private Jet Card Comparisons that the 2021 start-up is among those LOIs.
“We welcome Honda Aircraft Company’s introduction of the new Echelon model to the private aviation market. Innovations like this continue to drive the industry forward, offering more choices to consumers and fostering healthy competition. We look forward to seeing how the Echelon will shape the future of aviation,” he says.
Liotta declined to disclose how many units the LOI covers.
Volato is already the largest operator in the world of Honda’s VLJ.
It also is adding the super-midsize Gulfstream G280 to its offerings.
“The HondaJet Echelon was born to create a new category that transcends the travel experience on conventional light jets,” said Honda Aircraft Company President & CEO Hideto Yamasaki.
He added, “Expanding mobility skyward has been Honda’s long-lasting dream, and the HondaJet Echelon marks the exciting next chapter while showcasing a classic Honda story of a product that creates new value for people.”
The new jet was introduced as the HondaJet 2600 Concept in 2021.
In June, it said it would move forward and commercialize its second entry into the private jet market.
The Echelon is designed to have transcontinental flights across the United States with a range of 2,625 nautical miles.
A pair of Williams International FJ44-4C engines will power it.
With two pilots, it will have seating for nine passengers.
The new light jet is targeted “to outperform conventional light jets on typical missions by up to 20% and mid-sized jets by over 40%.”
The fuselage will be one inch wide and four-and-a-half inches taller than the HondaJet HA-420, categorized as a very light jet.
Echelon will have seven feet of distance between facing seats.
It will have a maximum takeoff weight of 17,000 pounds.
The cabin altitude will be 6,363 feet at maximum cruising altitude of 47,000 feet.
Early build processes are scheduled to begin in 2024. The first flight is planned for 2026, followed by type certification anticipated in 2028.
Production of the Echelon will occur within the existing footprint of Honda Aircraft Company’s facility at its global headquarters in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Yamasaki said production entails a $55 million investment into its facilities there.
Honda Aircraft executives declined to discuss the price of its new aircraft.