(Corrects final paragraph to show Honda has not decided on lithium-ion battery)
TOKYO, May 21 (Reuters) - Honda Motor Co Ltd’s small passenger jet will not be licensed to fly by authorities in the United States until the second half of 2014, a year later than the company originally planned, Honda said on Tuesday.
Honda expects the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to certify the unconventional-looking HondaJet late next year, the company said in a statement. It had initially expected the aircraft to win flight approval in 2013, but this was held up due to a minor issue in the certification procedure, which has since been resolved.
“There was a minor issue in the process of the engine approval, but the fundamental design of the jet is not being swayed by this,” Honda spokesman Shigeki Endo said.
Multiple test flights have been successful and Honda is pressing on with more flights, he added.
The HondaJet’s engines sit on top of its wings, an usual configuration which the firm says gives it more cabin space and better fuel-efficiency than rival business jets.
Boeing Co has this year been hit by the grounding of the 787 Dreamliner jet, whose lithium-ion battery system was redesigned and reinstalled after two separate incidents of battery overheating.
HondaJet’s delay in approval has nothing to do with its battery system, Endo said. Honda is considering whether to use a lithium-ion battery in the jet but that has yet to be decided, he said. (Reporting by Yoko Kubota; Editing by Daniel Magnowski)