MEBAA Convention News

Middle Eastern customers flock to Dassault Falcon jets

 - November 15, 2008, 1:08 AM

Over the last 12 months, the respected French builder of business jets has delivered an average of one new Falcon every month in the Middle East, increasing the current fleet to 41. Meanwhile, sales of new Falcons to customers in the area have remained on target, according to the company.

Deliveries this year have included the first two Falcon 7Xs in the region. The triple-engine 7X–the newest, largest and longest-range Falcon–represents some 30 percent of Dassault’s sales there over the last year. Worldwide, there are now some 18 Falcon 7Xs in service and at Dassault’s facility in Mérignac, France, more than 100 are currently in various stages of construction.

The first quarter of next year will see the deliveries of the first of the 20 Falcon 2000LX twinjets that National Air Service (NAS) of Saudi Arabia signed for in 2007. These airplanes will join the NetJets Middle East fractional aircraft program. Here at MEBA, Dassault has a Falcon 7X and 2000EX on static display.

“Despite the recent economic condition,” said John Rosanvallon, president and CEO of Dassault Falcon, “our 2008 sales results are expected to remain healthy. The Middle East generated a significant share of the 116 orders for Falcons worldwide during the first nine months of the year. Increased income from higher oil prices has certainly been a factor, but we see countless examples of companies here broadening their interests to other areas of commerce and trade throughout the world.”

At the annual U.S. National Business Aircraft Convention last month in Orlando, Florida, Dassault chairman and CEO Charles Edelstenne said that the economic market has suffered a “significant slowdown” in the U.S. and Europe in the past few months, but added that Dassault Falcon’s order book remains “solid, with very few cancellations.” He said that the company has sold 500 aircraft worldwide in the past three years.

The health of the Middle East market convinced Dassault to establish a full-time sales office and set up a dedicated spare parts distribution center in the region. Said Jacques Chauvet, senior vice president worldwide customer service, “Dubai is unique because of the expanding Falcon fleet based here, but it’s also a popular stopover point for aircraft flying from the Asia-Pacific region to Europe. Several service centers based in the Middle East are currently under evaluation as locations for expansion of the Falcon authorized service center network, which now comprises 33 facilities. Falcon customer service currently has one service manager based in Jeddah and another will shortly be appointed in Dassault’s new permanent office in Dubai.”