Charles Edelstenne, chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation, and Kong Linshan, chairman of the board of Minsheng Financial Leasing, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for 10 Falcon 7X and 10 Falcon 2000S business jets this morning at NBAA 2011 in Las Vegas. Zhang Bo, vice president of Minsheng Financial Leasing also signed the agreement, which Dassault Falcon officials expect will be finalized in the coming weeks.
The non-deposit MoU follows firm orders for five Falcon 7Xs that Minsheng Financial placed earlier this year and a sixth order for a Falcon 900LX. Some of these five 7Xs have been delivered.
"This simple document means a lot to us," said John Rosanvallon, president and CEO of Dassault Falcon, speaking directly to the Kong and Zhang at the signing. "It reinforces an already strong relationship that's been established between Falcon and Minsheng. Both companies wish to offer our customers the best possible solutions for business aircraft in China."
The signing ceremony, which took place in the executive boardroom of the Hilton Hotel, right next to the Las Vegas Convention Center, was conducted in English and Chinese through an interpreter. Hong explained that Minsheng Financial was established in 2008, with a focus on shipping and large-scale financing.
The company entered into the aviation financial business about two years ago, he said, and had already signed for 87 business jets (not including the MoU), 30 of which have been delivered. He said that when Minsheng started, company officials expected to be leasing 100 business jets in five years. Now Kong thinks the company will reach this level in two years, and explained that Minsheng already has customers lined up for the 7Xs in the MoU. He also said that China, as a whole, would have 800 to 1,000 business jets by 2020.
While the 7X offers a long list of city pairs linking Beijing and Shanghai with popular destinations, the Falcon 2000S, which was announced at EBACE 2011 in May, offers users low operating costs, numerous standard options and a low acquisition price for an aircraft in its class. Dassault claims the 2000S has the "greenest footprint" of any comparable aircraft.
Dassault officials said the French OEM expects to sell 25 aircraft in China this year and to deliver 15 there next year.