Making its Singapore Airshow debut is the Falcon 8X, the “flagship” of Dassault’s business aircraft fleet. The 8X has visited Singapore before, and has demonstrated its ability to fly non-stop to London. Here at the show the aircraft is available to view for potential customers.
Dassault (Chalet CD37) is seeing a slow recovery in the business jet slump of the last few years, with both its 7X and 8X long-range aircraft selling steadily. The Asia-Pacific region is helping with the recovery, especially as China’s economy improves. Not only does China represent 50 percent of the regional market, it also significantly affects other nations in Asia-Pacific, notably Australia that exports large amounts of coal and iron to China.
Dassault has delivered more than 40 Falcon 8Xs, and has already placed one in China, where the extra range is appreciated by business executives traveling to their areas of investment throughout the world. Another feature is the aircraft’s thin, flexible wing, which dampens the ride in turbulence. Cabin noise levels are extremely low, leading to a comfortable ride for those on board. Up front, the flight crew have the benefit of the FalconEye combined vision system, which brings together synthetic vision system imagery with that from an infrared camera to present imagery on head-up displays.
Dassault has a backlog of orders for the 7X and 8X. The larger 8X aircraft can be available in about 20 months, depending on the extent of customization, while the Falcon 7X has a 24-month wait. In the meantime, Dassault reports healthy sales of pre-owned aircraft.
Australia and New Zealand have been good markets for Dassault and the company expects to achieve more sales this year, of both new and pre-owned aircraft. Negotiations are under way to sell an 8X into Australia. A promising opportunity is the Australian government’s Special Purpose Aircraft requirement that aims to replace the current fleet of Boeing BBJ and Bombardier Challenger VIP/staff transport aircraft. Dassault sees the Falcon 7X and 8X as ideal candidates for this mission, citing the ability to operate into “challenging” runways. The Falcon’s good control at low speed makes short-runway operations safer, the company adds, while its three-engine layout circumvents ETOPS requirements, in turn allowing it to fly shorter overwater routes.
Another sector that offers opportunities in the wider region is that of special mission aircraft, based primarily on the twin-engine Falcon 2000. Dassault has already supplied two Falcon 2000s to South Korea for electronic intelligence missions, while the Japan Coast Guard selected the type for maritime surveillance duties. A number of 2000s have also been converted for air ambulance duties, including one in China.