Dassault Aviation has always been candid in its market assessments, and does not envision a meaningful recovery in the business aviation market until 2018. Announcing annual results at a Paris press conference on Wednesday, the French manufacturer acknowledged continued downward pressure on aircraft prices.
In 2016, Dassault logged 21 net orders for its Falcon jets, taking account of 12 Falcon 5Xs canceled by customers due to program delays caused by technical issues with the new model’s Safran Silvercrest engines. The company logged 25 Falcon sales in 2015 (a year in which NetJets canceled 20 orders).
Falcon deliveries last year numbered 49, which was down from 55 in 2015. Dassault had targeted 50 deliveries for 2016. For 2017, the company expects to deliver 45 Falcons, as well as nine of its Rafale fighters.
“There’s huge pressure to lower prices due to the weakness of the pre-owned market and as a consequence on the new aircraft market,” commented Dassault Aviation CEO Eric Trappier. “So we don’t see any positive signs in the market this year and the recovery should be achieved in 2018.”
Dassault logged net revenues of €3.586 billion ($3.793 billion) in 2016, which was 13.4 percent down on the €4.176 billion ($4.417 billion) in 2015. Operating profits fell by 39.6 percent from €361 million ($381 million) in 2015 to €218 million ($231 million).
With Safran having resolved the problems encountered with the Silvercrest turbofan, Dassault has been able to announce a revised date for first deliveries of the Falcon 5X in early 2020 (just over two years behind schedule from the initial target of late 2017). “I think customers who canceled their 5X orders will come back as soon as this program is mature,” Trappier predicted.
The company had a better year for military sales, largely due to a big order from India for 36 Rafales. So total order intake for the group only declined by 3.3 percent to €9.56 billion ($10.1 billion).