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.
Dassault Falcon Jet has completed the approval process to certify CAE SimuFlite’s Falcon 2000 maintenance program. CAE SimuFlite is the first training partner to meet Dassault’s expanded instructor and training program requirements for the aircraft, contained in the Dassault Falcon Training Policy Manual (FTPM). CAE SimuFlite intends
to expand the FTPM process to other Falcon types this year.
Dassault’s fly-by-wire Falcon 7X is nearing the finish line and is expected to receive EASA and FAA type certification either by the end of this month or early next quarter. The first delivery–of S/N 05 to a European customer– should also take place in the second quarter, according to a Dassault Falcon Jet spokesman.
CAE’s training facility in Morristown, N.J. is now open for limited use, according to the flight simulator manufacturer and training provider. The new business aviation training center has been in operation since the end of January, using Gulfstream IV and Sikorsky S-76 simulators transferred from its Dallas facility. The six-bay training center is expected to be fully operational this spring.
Dassault Aviation confirmed at its annual results briefing in Paris last month that it will launch a super-midsize Falcon, probably next year.
At today’s annual financial analyst meeting, Dassault Aviation chairman and CEO Charles Edelstenne announced record results for the second consecutive year for Falcons. Last year the company recorded firm sales for 158 jets, including an order from NetJets Europe for 24 Falcon 7X trijets. “Driven by growth outside North America, the worldwide market for business jets remained impressive in 2006,” said Edelstenne.
Changes to the Dassault Falcon 7X, now in flight test, could increase its range to as much as 6,000 nm at Mach 0.80, Dassault Aviation said today. The current guaranteed range of the 7X is 5,700 nm, but Dassault is currently evaluating several range-boosting enhancements, including Dassault-designed winglets.