Charles Edelstenne, chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation, and Kong Linshan, chairman of the board of Minsheng Financial Leasing, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for 10 Falcon 7X and 10 Falcon 2000S business jets this morning at NBAA 2011 in Las Vegas. Zhang Bo, vice president of Minsheng Financial Leasing also signed the agreement, which Dassault Falcon officials expect will be finalized in the coming weeks. The non-deposit MoU follows firm orders for five Falcon 7Xs that Minsheng Financial placed earlier this year and a sixth order for a Falcon 900LX. Some of these five 7Xs have been delivered.
Democrats and Republicans wrangling over the debt ceiling, spending and tax increases and tax cuts have come up with a deal nobody really likes. In the meantime the economy continues to stumble along to the pulse of a stock market fluctuating wildly. Unemployment is nudging 9.2 percent, the housing market remains depressed, and the President again has singled out corporate jet owners as the whipping boys.
Activity in the business aviation industry continues to grow, Dassault Aviation chairman Charles Edelstenne said today during the release of Dassault Falcon’s results for the first half of this year. Dassault’s order intake for new Falcons, minus cancellations, in the six-month period was 22 units, a considerable improvement over the net aircraft orders for only two jets in the first half of 2010.
Dassault Aviation has awarded GKN Aerospace a life-of-program contract to design and build the wing movable surfaces for its next-generation, super mid-sized (SMS) business jet. It is one of the first major system supplier selections to be announced for the long-anticipated program. The work likely will be done at GKN’s Filton operation in the UK, which to date has focused mainly on wing production for Airbus.
Dassault Aviation’s grounding on May 26 of the entire 112-aircraft Falcon 7X fleet because of a runaway trim incident is extraordinary in many ways. (Dassault didn’t actually ground the 7X fleet, but it did ask the EASA to issue an emergency airworthiness directive; EASA, then the FAA, followed through quickly.)
Dassault entered the world corporate jet market in 1963 with the launch of the highly successful Falcon 20 midsize twin. The OEM’s current lineup includes the widebody series 900, 2000 and 7X, and a new super-midsize jet announced for 2016.
Dassault unveiled its latest Falcon business jet today here in Geneva on the eve of the EBACE show. The new Falcon 2000S is very much aligned with the tough economic times, being a lower cost derivative of the Falcon 2000 that replaces the slow-selling Falcon DX, and may even compete with competitors’ smaller super-midsize jets.
Dassault’s unexpected announcement here in Geneva on Monday of the new 2000S model fills a crucial entry-level gap at the lower end of the Falcon family. It also suggests that the company’s long-planned SMS development will in fact fit a different niche than its “super-midsize” working title suggests.
The Indian Ministry of Defence on Wednesday, April 27, asked Dassault Aviation and Eurofighter to extend their commercial bids beyond the April 28 deadline for the 126-aircraft medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) requirement.
While few in the business aviation industry are forecasting a spike in growth, they are willing to recognize that a recovery appears to be under way, albeit with fingers crossed behind their collective backs.