One HondaJet customer isn’t happy. In a scathing letter sent to its customers last Friday, Glenn Gonzales, the founder and CEO of fractional company Jet It, accused the Honda Aircraft Company of costing the company tens of millions of dollars due to its gaps in customer service.
A Honda Aircraft Company (HACI) spokesperson told FLYING in a statement that the OEM was aware of the Jet It CEO’s message to the company’s customers. The spokesperson said that while HACI wouldn’t comment on internal operational matters relating to customers, but added that “HACI would like to reconfirm our position regarding the HondaJet aircraft fleet reliability and our solid commitment to support the product.”
Here’s What Happened
In the pre-Thanksgiving letter, Gonzales told customers that Jet It planned to add the Embraer Phenom 300 aircraft to its fleet due to a “disappointing” relationship with Honda Aircraft Company.
Jet It launched in 2018 and now has one of the largest HondaJet fleets, a key feature of its short trip business model. Gonzales recently spoke about the aircraft’s role in the business, along with the introduction of the Phenom 300 platform, during a segment on Business Air TV last month.
“I am heartbroken by the need to introduce another aircraft,” Gonzales said in the customer email. “As a believer in the Honda brand, I am incredibly disappointed by the uptime of the HondaJet and the grossly inadequate support we (and by extension you, our member) have been subjected to by Honda Aircraft Company.”
More specifically, the CEO said his company’s goal to provide the quality of service it desires to has been “thwarted” by what he attributes to Honda Aircraft’s customer service, which “has been woefully lacking.”
Gonzales argued in his letter that aircraft availability is a major sour point.
“At a minimum, we expected the HondaJet to meet an industry standard of 85 percent availability. Meaning that 85 percent of the fleet is flyable on any given day. However, for every nine days that we fly a HondaJet, it requires six days of maintenance.”
The OEM’s spokesperson refuted the claim, saying “the HondaJet dispatch reliability remains very high with 99.7 percent,” and the company worked closely with customers to help them maximize asset availability, which could be affected by various factors.
According to Gonzales, the downtime had hurt his business. “In the last five months, this statistic has resulted in Jet It having an average of only 10 aircraft flyable out of 24. For nearly two years, we have done our best to shield you from Honda’s ineptitude, but our shield has worn through.”
The result, according to Gonzales, is that Jet It has been forced to absorb more than $20 million in off-fleet expenses since 2020 in trying to maintain its offerings to customers. He told customers that despite Jet It being Honda’s largest customer, “having spent over $200 million in aircraft, parts, service, and training, it was time to pivot.”
FLYING asked for more detail about the financial losses cited by Gonzalez, however Jet It did not immediately respond.
“As the HondaJet fleet continues to grow, we are committed to ensuring that each of our customers around the globe receives the highest quality of service and support, with the supply of parts and factory-trained and certified service technicians available at each of the Authorized Service Center (ASC) locations,” the HACI spokesperson told FLYING. The OEM has added four new full-service ASCs in the U.S. and global regions this year to boost its service capacity.
‘A More Reliable Solution’
“The Embraer Phenom 300 is the solution,” said Gonzales, who also received the first HondaJet type rating. Gonzales said his company has conducted “extensive research” by talking with Embraer and Phenom 300 operators, and that the company is “confident” the transition will offer “a more reliable and consistent experience.” To make the shift, the CEO said his company’s sales team would reach out to customers to apprise them of the benefits of the Phenom 300 program.
“Our shift to operate Embraer Phenom 300s is essential to the sustainability of our business. As mentioned, the abuse from not having flyable aircraft cannot be continued,” Gonzales said.