Dassault bullish on Falcon 5X prospects in Middle East

Dubai Air Show » 2013
Falcon 2000S flying over Dubai.
Falcon 2000S flying over Dubai.
November 19, 2013, 5:48 AM

Dassault Aviation (Stand 1445), which is here exhibiting its Falcon 7X and Falcon 900LX business jets, expects the Middle East to be a major market for its new Falcon 5X, which was revealed at last month’s NBAA show in Las Vegas. The Saint-Cloud, France-based manufacturer has just begun offering a cockpit upgrade retrofit for the Falcon 900C/EX and an improvement for the Falcon 7X’s electronic flight bag (EFB).

More than 30 Falcons have been delivered to customers in the region over the past five years, nearly doubling the regional fleet to 67 aircraft. Recent growth, however, has been slower, because more than 60 Falcons were already based here in November 2011.

The Falcon 7X trijet is the fastest-selling Falcon model in the Middle East, accounting for 40 percent of sales. There are 13 Falcon 7Xs currently in service in the region. The next best-selling model, the Falcon 2000, represents about one third of the Falcon jets operating in the region.

Among Falcon operators are Saudi Private Aviation and Wallan Aviation, both based in Saudi Arabia. Earlier this year, Dassault delivered a Falcon 900LX to Wallan. Dassault currently has authorized service centers in Dubai and Jeddah, a spares distribution center in Dubai and a technical office in Jeddah. It also runs a regional sales office in Dubai.

The French firm, referring to a forecast for a doubling of the Middle Eastern fleet by 2020, sees a healthy future for the business jet market here.

5X Market

The Falcon 5X thus should find a major market in the Middle East. The 5,200 nm twinjet is due to enter service in mid-2017. It will feature the largest cabin cross-section in business aviation, in addition to advanced fly-by-wire controls and a host of innovations such as the “Skylight”–a window above the entrance/galley area–and a head-up display merging synthetic and infrared vision for the pilot. From Dubai, the Falcon 5X will be able to fly nonstop to all of Africa, the Far East and Europe.

For in-service Falcon 900Cs and 900EXs, Dassault has introduced a new avionics upgrade package dubbed Falcon Elite II. It includes functionalities such as ADS-B out and WAAS-LPV and RNP approach procedures. In addition, the upgrade replaces existing CRT displays with more modern and reliable LCDs. Combined with a new cursor control device, this upgrade makes the most of the processing power inherent in the LCD displays, Dassault said, and it thus supports electronic moving maps, electronic charts and SiriusXM satellite weather.

Dassault cooperated with Honeywell to develop Falcon Elite II. The upgrade can be installed by any Dassault-owned service center as well as by most Falcon-authorized service centers. “Falcon Elite II will be the first step in a new line of avionics improvements that can be installed as a package or à la carte,” said David Lamb, vice president of sales and marketing for Dassault Aircraft Services.

In the Falcon 7X program, Dassault will soon deliver the first aircraft equipped with Falcon Sphere, a new-generation software suite designed for use with CMC’s CMA 1100 EFB. Falcon Sphere consists of a Dassault-designed touch screen user interface and a full set of EFB applications, including Dassault’s new Falcon Manuals app. The new EFB suite also supports performance calculation for takeoff and cruise and it is compatible with third-party applications like Jeppesen’s FliteDeck and Honeywell’s WINN/XM Weather Information Network.

Falcon Sphere will henceforth be standard on all EFBs delivered on Falcon 7Xs. Dassault plans to release Falcon Sphere soon for the 900LX and 2000S/LX models as well. Starting in early 2014, the suite will be proposed as a retrofit for the 350-plus Falcon EASy aircraft already equipped with CMA 1100 EFBs.

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