Honda to launch new transportation service utilizing light jets, cars, bikes

Courtesy of Honda Motor Co.
Honda plans to use its light jets, cars and motorcycles in a new transportation service.

Honda Motor Co. plans to launch by the end of 2023 a transportation service dubbed MaaS (Mobility as a Service) that will utilize cars, motorbikes and its light plane, the HondaJet.

Because the HondaJet can operate at regional airports that lack regular flight services, the company hopes to establish the MaaS venture as a new means of transportation in rural areas for both business and tourism travel.

Users will be able to make a reservation on their smartphones, and will have the option of car or motorbike sharing to travel to and from airports. The jets will be operated by Honda Airways Co., a Honda group company.

The HondaJet was developed by the automaker in a project that started in 1986. A U.S. subsidiary develops and manufactures the jets, which hit the market in 2015.

The company had 37 jet deliveries in 2021, making it the world’s top producer of light jets for the fifth consecutive year.

Honda’s light jet is about 13 meters long and carries up to 8 people, including crew. It can take off and land from most airports accessible by commercial aircraft. The company hopes it will become a convenient form of transportation in rural areas that lack regular air routes, including remote islands.

Honda is considering offering the MaaS service to domestic travelers and international visitors to Japan in the future.

According to Honda, the cost of chartering a business jet in Japan is generally ¥1 million-¥1.6 million per hour, about double the cost in the United States where the use of charter jets is becoming more widespread.

HondaJet charter fees are still under consideration. The company said it wants to bring the price per flight closer to the U.S. level by promoting jet sharing through MaaS and increasing the utilization rate of its planes. Honda is also considering “dynamic pricing,” for which prices fluctuate based on reservations.

The company plans to conduct a MaaS trial this month for corporate customers, with Oita Airport in Kunisaki, Oita Prefecture, to be used as a maintenance base because Honda Airways has a hangar at the facility.

The company will finalize details of the service and fees after determining the level of demand and airport procedure requirements during the trial, aiming for a full-scale launch next year.

“Utilizing regional airports will also help revitalize local tourism,” a Honda official said. “We would like to make business jets a common sight in Japan by keeping the fees as low as possible, so they can be used for trips on special occasions.”