HondaJet 2600 Mockup
HondaJet 2600 Mockup

HondaJet 2600

Like the popular HondaJet HA-420, the company’s latest airplane concept is a long-term project that seems likely to pay big dividends.

As industry wags suspected all along, Honda Aircraft didn’t build its mammoth Greensboro, North Carolina campus and hire more than 1,500 employees just to build one model of aircraft, the fast-selling and much-acclaimed HondaJet HA-420 light twinjet. Like its parent, Honda Motor Company—which systematically and relentlessly attacked first the U.S. markets for light motorcycles, and then small cars, family sedans, and SUVs—Honda Aircraft has bigger ambitions.

Last year, the airframer unveiled a “concept” for its next model, which it badged the HondaJet 2600. The 2600 takes dead aim at the larger Cessna Citation CJs and the Embraer Phenom 300. Honda plans to take its time developing the aircraft—and it can afford to. Its parent company is a Japanese colossus with $123 billion in annual revenue last year alone. Moreover, Honda Aircraft has a track record that must make its parent patient: the HA-420, which began development in the late 1980s as a “research project,” wasn’t delivered to customers until 2015. Only two years later, it was the world’s bestselling light jet

The 2600—the name comes from the aircraft’s range target of 2,625 nautical miles (four passengers)—is basically a fatter, longer, faster, and longer-legged take on the HA-420, whose carbon-fiber composite fuselage is mated to metal wings with over-wing engine pylons, thin natural laminar flow wings, a porpoise-like nose, and raked cockpit side windows. The design helps to make the aircraft speedy and allows for more rear cabin and luggage space—including room for an enclosed toilet—and a larger, quieter cabin with less vibration. The over-the-wing-engine-mount pylons reduce drag and eliminate the need to contour the aft fuselage. 

Honda Aircraft Unveils 2600 ‘Concept’ Jet

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Honda Aircraft Unveils 2600 ‘Concept’ Jet

The model will boast midsize-jet range and cabin amenities, but with a light-jet-class airframe.

Continuing to build on the success of the original HA-420, its latest iteration, the new $5.4-million HondaJet Elite S, features an increase in maximum takeoff weight (mtow), flight deck improvements, a nosewheel steering system enhancement, and new paint colors. The Elite S's mtow is 200 pounds heavier, which allows carriage of an extra passenger or flying an additional 120 nautical miles with one pilot and five passengers. 

The 2600 is the next step forward. It promises to bring new economics to transcontinental business travel. Like the HA-420, it will be certified for single-pilot operations and have good short-runway performance: the estimated takeoff distance at maximum weight is just 3,300 feet. Honda claims it will be 20 percent more fuel-efficient than comparable light jets and 40 percent more than midsize ones with similar cabins. 

Honda Aircraft CEO, Michimasa Fujino standing at a podium in front of HondaJet 2600 mockup
Honda Aircraft CEO, Michimasa Fujino standing at a podium in front of HondaJet 2600 mockup

“What we are proposing by the HondaJet 2600 is…a new concept of business jet, with fuel efficiency, high payload capability, and transcontinental range,” said Honda Aircraft CEO Michimasa Fujino, who shepherded the HA-420 from concept to delivery. While current jets all can run on sustainable aviation fuel [SAF]," he added, “none were mainly designed around the environment or focusing on fuel efficiency. The [HondaJet 2600] is designed around environmental considerations and a focus on fuel efficiency.” 

Similar in appearance to the HA-420, the 2600 features Honda’s patented and distinctive over-the-wing-engine-mount design, which delivers midsize cabin comfort for seating up to 11 and light jet operating economics with a twist: transcontinental range. The aircraft will have a maximum cruise speed of 450 knots and a maximum altitude of 47,000 feet, where cabin altitude is a comfortable 6,363 feet. The maximum takeoff weight will be near 17,500 pounds. 

The wider fuselage produces a cabin cross-section that is 62.5 inches tall and 61 inches wide, 4.5 inches higher, and one inch wider than on the HA-420. The modular cabin is 25.4 feet long and features a galley and enclosed aft lavatory with seating layouts of either a double club four, for eight passengers, or a single club four plus a half club and a three-place divan, for nine. Honda also has designed a special mattress that mounts atop two facing single seats. The distance between seatbacks on the facing single executive seats is seven feet. Combined interior and exterior baggage stowage is a generous 120 cubic feet. 

While engines for the new aircraft have not formally been discussed, it is widely believed that it would be powered by a larger version of the GE/Honda HF120 on the HA-420. GE Aviation executives said some years ago that this engine was upwardly “scalable.” 

While Honda claims no final decision has been made on the program and that it is continuing to assess market demand, it already has conducted wind tunnel tests on the design. And if the project is green-lighted, it will undoubtedly get to market considerably faster than the HA-420

HondaJet 2600 Aicraft Specifications

Crew: 1–2 

Passengers: 8–10 


            Height: 5 ft 2.5 in

            Width: 5 ft 1 in 

            Length: 25.4 ft 

Baggage (interior and exterior): 120 cu ft 

Fast cruising speed: 450 kt 

Range (4 passengers): 2,625 nm 

Maximum takeoff weight: 17,500 lb 

Takeoff distance at mtow: 3,300 ft

Ceiling: 47,000 ft