Photo/IllutrationThe HondaJet can accommodate up to seven people and its engines are located above the main wings. (Provided by Honda Motor Co.)

  • Photo/Illustraion

HondaJet was the most-delivered aircraft in the light-jet category in 2018 for the second year in a row, though shipments dropped to 37 units from 43 in 2017, resulting in a business deficit, Honda Motor Co. said Feb. 21.

According to data released Feb. 20 by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, sales of Honda Aircraft Co.’s HondaJet, dubbed the “flying sports car,” surpassed the 34 units of the Citation M2, Cessna’s major jet.

Honda Motor cited several factors behind the decline in shipments of the jet, which weighs 5.7 tons or less.

In mid-2018, the company started producing its top-of-the-line airplane HondaJet Elite, which boasts an upgraded flight range and enhanced quietness, making it the farthest- and highest-flying aircraft in its class.

A change in the deadline for delivering units to companies also contributed to the decline. However, the company said orders are steady.

Since the company wrote off its initial investment, it has been in a deficit and logged operating deficits totaling 29.1 billion yen ($262.73 million) for the April-December period in 2018. Despite narrowing the deficit by 1 billion yen compared to the same period last year, restoring profitability is an urgent task for the company.

The high-end HondaJet Elite model, which can accommodate up to seven people, is priced at $5.25 million (about 580 million yen).

With its unique above-the-wing engines, which reduce aerodynamic drag, HondaJet is touted as having excellent fuel efficiency and a quiet cabin space.

In June 2018, Honda Motor began taking orders for the aircraft in Japan following global sales, including delivering the first aircraft to the United States in 2015.

HondaJet was delivered to a Japanese customer for the first time in December 2018, and Honda Motor has already received more than 10 domestic orders for the iconic plane.