(Adds comments from executive, pace of production)
By Brad Haynes and Priscila Jordão
SAO PAULO, Aug 10 (Reuters) - Honda Motor Co still aims to start delivering its HondaJet during the “late summer” in the United States, but its top aviation executive recognized on Monday that the deadline would depend on final certification there.
Deliveries of the executive jet in Brazil will have to wait until 2017, according to the chief executive of Lider Aviação, the local sales and support partner for the HondaJet, who added that production was already sold out through next year.
“Aviation certification is a very complex process, which is why it is so difficult to enter the market. This has been a very big challenge for us,” said Michimasa Fujino, chief executive of the Honda Aircraft, at an industry event in Sao Paulo.
He said there were about 20 aircraft in final assembly and, with final approval from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, the plant in North Carolina aims to churn out one jet per week.
The HondaJet is entering service about a decade after the company announced plans to enter the executive aviation market. Honda is challenging Textron Inc’s Cessna and Brazil’s own Embraer SA in the ultralight segment, where demand has been slow to recover from a business jet downturn. (Reporting by Brad Haynes and Priscila Jordao; Editing by Leslie Adler, Bernard Orr)