On April 27 Dassault hosted a formal ceremony at its Bordeaux facility to celebrate FAA and EASA certification of the Falcon 7X. Before the event took place, some industry observers believed it would be merely a public relations forum at which the airframer would proudly wave the paperwork it had received several days earlier. However, the planned ceremony coincided with the actual certification.
Dassault Falcon Jet’s Little Rock, Arkansas completion center is ramping up its capacity to meet demand for Dassault’s newly certified Falcon 7X, while continuing to fulfill commitment with regard to the Falcon 900EX, 900DX and 2000EX.
Aircraft sales numbers often catch the big headlines, but it is the delivery figures that matter most to aircraft manufacturers. The unpredictable nature of economic cycles, customers’ needs and desires and a company’s many suppliers often cause a disconnect between reported sales and the number of airplanes that actually end up in customers’ hands.
The three-engine, 5,950-nm-range Falcon 7X, certified on April 30, is Dassault Falcon’s proudest achievement (see story on page 6) and certainly it will be the Falcon model attracting the most visitors here at EBACE. But the French airframer also took time at its press conference yesterday to announce an upgraded version of the Falcon 2000, its popular twin-engine business jet.
Dassault Aviation comes to Geneva this week on a wave of exhilaration generated by having achieved simultaneous European and U.S. certification less than a month ago. The French manufacturer has completed the long, meticulous development of the world’s first fly-by-wire (FBW) business jet.
At a ceremony Friday in Bordeaux-Mérignac, France, Dassault Aviation received type certification for the Falcon 7X from the EASA and the FAA. Pilot training began the same day at the new CAE facility in Morristown, N.J. The trijet is expected to enter service before the end of next month, about a year later than targeted when the aircraft was unveiled in October 2001. The 5,950-nm Falcon 7X accomplished many firsts, according to Dassault.
Dassault Aviation will decide by early next year whether to launch a smaller jet, chairman and CEO Charles Edelstenne said recently. Since production of the small, sleek Falcon 10 ended in 1983, Dassault has concentrated on building larger business jets. The apparently twin-engine jet now being considered would be priced below $20 million and would be about the size of the Falcon 50 trijet but have a shorter range.
Dassault Aviation chairman and CEO Charles Edelstenne, addressing reporters on the eve of the Paris Air Show this week, said Falcon deliveries will reach between 50 and 55 this year. Although he said economic conditions have improved "measurably" since 2004, this figure is short of the 63 Falcons delivered last year. He cited two reasons for this.
An impasse in negotiations by unionized workers and the Dassault Falcon Jet Wilmington, Del. facility remained unresolved at press time, leaving some 100 workers on strike. Contract negotiations broke down between the company and United Auto Workers Local 1542 on March 8, but they were scheduled to reopen on March 23 (for the latest, see “As We Go To Press” on page 3).
Falcon business jet orders and deliveries last year decreased by 44 percent and 26 percent, respectively, according to Dassault chairman and CEO Charles Edelstenne. At the company’s headquarters in Saint-Cloud, France, in mid-February, Edelstenne said orders for 40 Falcons were received last year, down from 72 in 2002. Deliveries fell last year to 49 Falcons, from 66 in 2002.