Dassault Falcon Jet broke ground this week on an expansion and upgrade of its Little Rock, Ark. completion facility to accommodate the French airframer’s recently launched Falcon 5X and 8X. A 250,000-sq-ft hangar is part of the $60 million project, which adds production and completion space to the existing one million sq ft at the campus. Older hangars and the cabinet, upholstery and headliner shops will undergo a refurbishment.
Dassault Falcon Jet is investing in a major expansion of its Sorocaba maintenance facility over the next few months “to better accommodate the demands of Brazilian and other South American customers.” The expansion of the Dassault Aircraft Services-Sorocaba facility will add 10,000 sq ft (929 sq m) of hangar space, significantly boosting the existing 23,000-sq-ft (2,137-sq-m) building and “reinforcing our ability to serve the anticipated demand,” said John Rosanvallon, president and CEO of Dassault Falcon Jet.
Airbus Group announced yesterday that it is “pursuing disposal options for its investment in Dassault Aviation.” Airbus’s 46-percent share gives it no power in decision making and is only a legacy of the share the French state used to have in Dassault. The Dassault family, via the GIMD holding company, owns slightly more than 50 percent of the manufacturer of the Rafale fighter and the Falcon business jets. Investor activist group TCI estimates that Airbus’s share in Dassault is worth €5 billion.
Dassault Aviation received orders for 38 Falcons in the first half of this year while delivering 25, CEO Eric Trappier announced on Friday in Paris. The orders were worth €1.6 billion ($2.2 billion), a 29-percent increase over the same period in 2013 and a continuous improvement since the first half of 2011.
Dassault Aviation announced today that it has joined the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW307D engines, wings and fuselage of the first Falcon 8X, paving the way for initial power-on and the start of ground tests. First electrical power-on is expected at the end of this month, in line with the production and test schedule. Dassault expects to fly the 8X trijet early next year, with certification slated for mid-2016 and initial deliveries anticipated by the end of 2016.
In his last act as British Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond and his French counterpart, Jean-Yves le Drian, signed an agreement at the Farnborough Airshow yesterday to launch a two-year co-operative feasibility study for an unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV). The Future Combat Air System (FCAS) deal is worth £120 million (more than $180 million) for six industry partners: BAE Systems, Dassault Aviation, Rolls-Royce, Safran, Selex and Thales.
French aerospace industry lobbying association Gifas (Hall 1 Stand A15) is foreseeing another excellent year in terms of revenue and orders. In an economy bombarded with bad news, France’s aerospace sector is often cited as an example. A thorn in its side, however, has been the euro/dollar currency exchange rate. Recruitment remains a tricky issue, too.
Charles Edelstenne, former CEO of Dassault Aviation, was designated the successor of Serge Dassault last week. The general assembly of Dassault Aviation’s parent company, Groupe Industriel Marcel Dassault, voted unanimously for the creation of a “succeeding statutory president” position. Edelstenne, 76, will thus automatically succeed Dassault, 89, in case the groups presidency is “vacant, for whatever reason,” the firm said.
Eric Trappier, Dassault Aviation’s chairman and CEO, said late in April that he found the business jet market “a little bit slow.” He would like to see a more active market, especially in the U.S.“But step-by-step we are back on the right track, in terms of orders,” he added. AIN understands that Falcon salespeople have found the first four months of 2014 tougher than expected.
Only seven months after having unveiled the Falcon 5X, a cleansheet design, Dassault Aviation (Booth 7090) is here taking the wraps off the Falcon 8X, a significant upgrade over the existing Falcon 7X. A longer cabin will offer more layout possibilities, while a greater range, at 6,450 nm (a 500-nm increase), is making more city pairs possible between Asia, Europe and the Americas.
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