The HondaJet has proven to be a popular light jet, since the first one was delivered to a customer in 2015. The updated HondaJet Elite was launched in 2018, offering a new Garmin G3000 flight deck, improved performance and an upgraded interior. In May 2021, the company announced new upgrades to the design with the HondaJet Elite S which increased the aircraft’s maximum takeoff weight. Here is a look at the costs to own and operate this sought after light jet.
The plane is certified for single pilot operations, so can be flown by pilot owner operators. For commercial and corporate flights it is more likely to fly with 2 pilots. In its typical configuration, the HondaJet has room for 5 or 6 passengers. An alternative configuration permits up to 7 passengers with 1 crew member. Passengers can enjoy a speakerless sound system for immersive audio in the cabin.
The full interior length is 17 ft 9.5 in (5.43m), with 12 ft of that in the cabin. The cabin height is 4 ft 10 in (1.47m), and the width is 5 ft (1.52m). There are two storage compartments, a main compartment with 57 cu ft of space, and a smaller nose compartment with 9 cu ft.
Both the Elite and the Elite S have a maximum cruise speed of 782 km/hr (422 knots per hr). With 6 occupants, the maximum range of the Elite S is 1,285 nm (2, 380 km), compared with a maximum range of 1,166 nm (2,159 km) for the Elite. With just four occupants, the range of the Elite S increases to 1,437 nm (2,661 km). The takeoff distance (MTOW) of the Elite S is 3,639 ft (1,109 m).
It is powered by 2 GE Honda HF 120 turbofan engines and uses an Over-the-Wing Engine Mount system to increase speed and provide a quieter flight experience for passengers. The fuselage is constructed of a carbon composite, which is stronger and lighter than aluminum. This allows for higher altitudes and faster speeds, while consuming less fuel. The flight deck features state of the art technology that aids navigation and vision, while also improving comfort for the pilot.
HondaJet’s emphasis on efficiency means that the Elite S uses less fuel and produces fewer carbon emissions than other aircraft in its class.
The Elite S also comes with a range of exterior paint options.
The base price for a new HondaJet Elite S is $5.4m. A preowned HondaJet HA-420 starts at about $2.5m and prices for a used HondaJet Elite start at about $3.0m. Prices on preowned models will vary depending on age, engine hours, maintenance, and condition.
Operating Cost Summaries
The table below shows the "Direct Mission Costs" for typical missions of 300 nm, 600 nm and 1,000 nm in the HondaJet Elite. The table includes a bundling of fuel consumed, maintenance labor, parts and reserve costs (Variable Costs), apportioned to the actual flight time for the mission length. The fuel price used for this analysis is based on an average price of $5.00 per gallon, and the flights are assumed to have 6 passengers and 1 crew. The fuel consumption figure accounts for taxi, takeoff, climb, cruise, descent, and landing.
|Range||Flight Time||Cost||Cost per nm|
|Total Variable Costs (300nm mission)||53 min||$922||$3.07|
|Total Variable Costs (600nm mission)||1 hr 40 min||$1,679||$2.80|
|Total Variable Costs (1,000nm mission)||2 hr 43 min||$2,691||$2.69|
Annual Fixed Costs
These costs must be borne by an operator or flight department irrespective of the level of aircraft utilization. Included in here are salaries for flight crew, annual training, hull insurance cost computed by multiplying a liability factor per $100 of hull insurance. The crew salaries below have assumed a dual pilot (commercial) operation, but as stated above the plane is certified for single pilot use and is also popular with owner pilots. (Editorial update: since this article was published, some of these costs have increased. In particular the crew salaries have gone up significantly.)
|Employee Benefits (30%)||$58,087|
|Director of Maintenance Salary||0|
|Crew Recurrent Training||$16,000|
|Director of Maintenance Recurrent Training||0|
|Hangar / Office||$20,822|
Variable Costs (Per Flight Hour)
These expenses are directly related to the operation of the aircraft and are represented as an hourly cost figure. Included are Fuel Expense, Maintenance Labor Expense, Parts Expense, and Engine reserves expenses. The basis for the figures reported is actual operator experience compiled by AirPower Software. Parts, labor, and reserves are predicated on the assumption that the aircraft is no longer covered by the manufacturer’s warranty.
The fuel costs assume a price per gallon of $4.75 and an average fuel consumption of 102 gallons per hour.
|Airframe Sys. Parts & Labor||$202|
|Avionics Protection Program||0|
Annual Variable Costs
There are additional costs that vary based on usage, these are the "Annual Cabin Services Cost" and, the "Annual Trip Support Cost". The latter includes onboard catering, commercial flights for the flight crew, ground handling and landing/parking fees when the aircraft is away from its home airport. The breakdown is shown below:
|Cabin / Iridium Phone||$2,150|
|Flight Crew Travel||$5,767|
|International Trip Support||0|
|Landing / Parking Fees||$5,767|
|Total Other Trip Costs||$25,220|
Annual Costs Summary
Assuming that the aircraft is used for 250 hours per year, then the total annual costs of operation will be:
|Total Annual Fixed Costs||$311,443|
|Total Owner Annual Variable Cost||$242,625|
|Total Annual Trip Support Costs||$25,220|
|Grand Total Owner Flown Annual Expenses||$583,288|
|Owner Cost per Flight Hour||$2,333|
In summary, the total annual cost for the HondaJet Elite HA-420 will be $583,288 and the cost per flight hour, for the 250 hours the owner uses the aircraft, comes out to $2,333.
Note the above calculations do not include any figures for depreciation or for any financing charges, which may be a factor.
These numbers are courtesy of AirPower Software Group, Inc. Their tool, AircraftBudgetAnalyzer, lets you fully customize these operating costs to model your own usage and requirements. For instance if you plan to charter out the aircraft for some number of hours, you can model this impact on the overall costs, and can also change any of the other costs or hours flown to match your expectations.
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