Dassault Falcon is reorganizing its service support strategy, with a particular focus on technical assistance, parts inventory and the service center structure. “Times have changed and we must change with them,” Jacques Chauvet, Dassault Falcon’s senior vice president for worldwide customer service, told AIN.
Since the beginning of the economic crisis, European company executives flying in business jets largely have escaped being singled out as fat cats as infamously happened to the bosses of America’s big-three automakers when they flew from Detroit to Washington in three separate jets to ask for federal handouts in November 2008.
Dassault Aviation’s maintenance and operations (M&O) seminar held here in Geneva on April 1 was a prime opportunity for the Falcon business jet manufacturer to highlight customer support initiatives that it has taken in an effort to keep up with its North American competitors.
Dassault Aviation last month reported its 2009 sales and delivery totals, and the numbers were mixed. The company ended the year with a net tally of minus 163 Falcon orders but a record 77 deliveries. The company has no plans for job cuts in France, although it has slashed the U.S. workforce by 20 percent since the beginning of the downturn.
Dassault Aviation yesterday reported contrasting results for last year, with a negative net order tally of -163 Falcon business jets, but a record 77 Falcon deliveries. During a press conference held at the company’s headquarters near Paris yesterday morning, Dassault chairman and CEO Charles Edelstenne said the negative order number includes 65 cancellations from fractional provider NetJets.
Dassault Aviation on Monday said its revenue last year decreased 9 percent from 2008, coming in at €3.4 billion ($4.7 billion). This number lumps together sales and deliveries of Falcon business jets and military aircraft. To cope with the downturn, some activities have been transferred from one factory to another; for example, Dassault has migrated wiring work from its Mérignac to its Biarritz, France facilities.
The Dassault Falcon 7X received its type certificate from the Civil Aviation Administration of China. All in-production Falcon models are now certified in that country, the France-based manufacturer added. Dassault plans to deliver three of the 5,950-nm-range trijets in China by the end of this month. “We’ve been waiting for China to emerge as a strong force for several years.
After pioneering digital design in the aerospace industry 25 years ago, Dassault Aviation has implemented what it calls “the digital factory.” The Falcon 7X was the first aircraft to be produced using this concept, and the result was some impressive gains in manufacturing efficiency. Now Dassault has taken digitization one step further, by simulating the processes of aircraft completion and maintenance.
Officials from Team Rafale are quietly confident that a deal for up to 60 airplanes will be made with the United Arab Emirates. Meanwhile, they are signing agreements here at the show with local entities that further strengthen the French influence in Emirati education and industry.
Like other business jet OEMs, Dassault Falcon is suffering from the effects of the global downturn. But some parts of the world are rebounding faster than others, according to the French airframer. “Yes, the market has been challenging this past year, and we don’t expect any significant change until the middle of next year,” said Charles Edelstenne, chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation.