Remarks by Michimasa Fujino, President & CEO, Honda Aircraft Company, Inc.
Thank you, Jeffrey, and good morning everyone. Thank you for joining us this morning at the home of HondaJet. As you have waited for this day, I too, have been waiting - for a long time!
For the last five years, Greensboro has served as our home, as we have worked to take the dream of HondaJet from the drawing board to the sky. It was a very challenging journey that we began in 2001... right here in this facility. In fact, we assembled and tested HondaJet inside these walls.
Also, HondaJet took its very first flight from this airport on December 3, 2003, exactly two weeks before the 100th anniversary of the Wright brother's first flight. So, I would like to say, very humbly, that North Carolina -- the birthplace of aviation -- is also the birthplace of the HondaJet.
In this sense, I think it is best to announce our future plans for HondaJet in Greensboro and inside this facility. Today, I am very pleased and honored to announce our plans to establish the world headquarters of Honda Aircraft Company right here in Greensboro.
We will begin with the construction of a new, 215,000-square foot, headquarters facility. This new facility will become the center of our company's worldwide activity in the realm of aviation.
This includes the continued development of HondaJet, as well as sales, marketing and service, and also research for future technical development. The people working in this facility will be very high-skilled individuals with backgrounds in aeronautical engineering and other technical areas.
In addition to our new world headquarters, I am also pleased to announce today that Greensboro will be the home to a new state-of-the-art manufacturing plant for the production of HondaJet. Now we are moving steadily toward our goal of delivering the first HondaJet in 2010.
We are now working very hard to define the exact specifications of this new plant... including size, production capacity and capital investment. So, I ask that you please be patient with us as we work to finalize these plans. We look forward to sharing more information in the very near future.
These Greensboro facilities will be responsible for HondaJet's continued evolution from a prototype aircraft to a full fledged production airplane... one that sets new standards for performance, quality and comfort in the very light jet and light jet market.
These new facilities will also serve as delivery centers for HondaJet. I am a little bit excited to imagine that all of our customers from around the U.S. - and eventually from around the world - will come here to Greensboro to accept delivery of their HondaJet.
In order to achieve our goals for HondaJet, and to ensure a product of the highest quality and value to our customers, there were many things we needed to consider in locating these operations.
In a sense, I am very fortunate that we found in Greensboro and North Carolina a place and a people who share in our vision and our values. This is a place with a long-term vision for economic growth and prosperity.
Of course, there were important issues we had to consider, such as good support from the airport for our operation and testing activity, good weather characteristics, a good business and living environment, accessibility and good shipping logistics such as an overnight air freight hub location.
Other important issues were the quality of people and resources for training. Like all great endeavors, it is the people who will determine ultimate success.
Here again, we were very pleased to find good investments being made in basic education, local schools, worker training and advanced learning, including the activities taking place in North Carolina's research triangle.
Going forward, we will also establish a relationship with Guilford Technical College for the education and training of future Honda Aircraft Company associates.
Together with positive economic momentum and many new businesses coming to North Carolina, it is my strong hope that our project and Honda Aircraft Company could make a positive contribution to this community.
As you know, Honda is producing a variety of innovative products automobiles, motorcycles, and power products all these products speak for themselves about the spirit of Honda innovation. But today, I can not be so quiet.
HondaJet employs many advanced technologies. As you can see for yourself, HondaJet employs a new concept called an over-the-wing engine mount configuration. This reduces drag at high speeds and provides for a more spacious cabin and luggage area.
Also, HondaJet employs advanced aerodynamics, called natural laminar flow technology. Both the fuselage nose and wing employ this design that further improves efficiency. Finally HondaJet's fuselage structure is made entirely of composite materials, which reduces weight as well as manufacturing cost.
Together, these features help provide HondaJet with 30-35 percent greater fuel efficiency, 10 percent higher cruise speed, and more cabin and luggage space compared to conventional jets in this class.
Finally, as with all Honda products, we are committed to delivering a jet of the very highest quality. This is our basic commitment to our customers, our business partners and the communities where we do business.
I proposed the HondaJet project to our management in 1997. After the project was accepted, I was looking for a facility location in the United States in 1999. I visited various places all over the United States by myself. But I still remember that when I landed at Greensboro, I immediately felt something here. This inspiration was similar to what I had when I drew the very first sketch of the HondaJet. I felt the energy of Greensboro, and I also found people who love aviation from their heart and I really appreciate the warm hospitality of the people here.
Since that time, I met many people who have supported our life and family. All the support we have received from the people of Greensboro has been a big encouragement for me. I know many of our associates have a similar feeling.
So, now, is the time for the HondaJet team to respond to your kindness and start another challenge and venture with the people of this community and state. Today, at the Honda Aircraft Company, we are planting our feet firmly on the ground in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Thank you very much.