Derek Cosson – The Pulse
This week, Pensacola hotelier Julian MacQueen and his wife Kim will climb into their HondaJet and embark on a three-month, around-the-world trip that will take them to destinations on six continents.
MacQueen is the founder and CEO of Innisfree Hotels, which owns and/or manages 23 hotels in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Michigan, and Vermont. By circumnavigating the globe, he and his wife hope to investigate the role hotels play in community building and to discover what’s possible if they bring more design, culture — and even faith — from around the world back home.
“The world is a community, and you are welcome no matter where you are from,” MacQueen said. “We are all global citizens, and this trip will help connect Innisfree teammates and guests with the world.”
The pair will fly themselves from one destination to the next in their HondaJet, billed as the world’s most advanced light jet. Manufactured by Honda Aircraft Company in Greensboro, North Carolina, the HA-420 HondaJet has a maximum cruise speed of 422 knots (486 mph) and a maximum altitude of 43,000 feet, placing it highest in its class for both speed and altitude, as well as being the most fuel-efficient light jet in its class.
A lifelong aviation enthusiast who earned his pilot’s license at age 15, Julian MacQueen was just the 55th owner of a HondaJet worldwide after purchasing the plane earlier this year. The company’s first commercial aircraft, the HondaJet has a retail price of $4.5 million.
They’re calling the adventure “Around the World in 80 Stays” — a nod to Jules Verne’s classic 1873 adventure novel — and have invited people to follow along via the website aroundtheworldin80stays.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/AroundTheWorldIn80Stays, or on Instagram and Twitter using the handle @80days80stays.
The trip will take the pair to more than two dozen countries: Colombia, Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Morocco, France, Italy, Turkey, Israel, Dubai, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia, Taiwan, and Japan.
Both HondaJet and Shepherd Aero, which provides “international trip support for private jet operators and aviation adventurers,” have signed on as sponsors for the trip, which will mark the first around-the-world flight of a HondaJet.
“I am very excited that our esteemed customers decided to use the HondaJet for their world tour,” said Honda Aircraft President & CEO Michimasa Fujino. “I hope many people around the world get to see HondaJet in person and see the high performance, quality and reliability of the aircraft.”
The MacQueens are taking off this week and plan to complete the trip by early-to-mid October.