Dassault sees pockets of recovery
Like other business jet OEMs, Dassault Falcon is suffering from the effects of the global downturn. But some parts of the world are rebounding faster than others, according to the French airframer. “Yes, the market has been challenging this past year, and we don’t expect any significant change until the middle of next year,” said Charles Edelstenne, chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation. He said that while Falcon has delivered 80 jets this year (eight more than 2008), it has had more cancellations than new sales. “It’s too early to speculate on the time of recovery,” he added, “but it is important to be ready.”
Edelstenne noted that work continues on the Falcon 900LX, built on the same platform as the Falcon 900EX EASy but with winglets and range extended to 4,800 nm. The first flight test is expected next month and certification in the first half of 2010.
John Rosanvallon, president and CEO of Dassault Falcon, said the used aircraft market is the most reactive to the economy, and he estimated the large inventory of used aircraft won’t go away for 18 months. He said that none of this or next year’s deliveries are slated for fractional aircraft companies. In the last quarter of 2008, he said, “for the first time we had a negative quarter.”
According to Rosanvallon, “Brazil is getting out of this crisis strong and early,” while Asia has a “much more positive outlook.” China is getting more realistic, as far as import duties and access to airspace, while the Middle East “is still a pretty robust market.” But he predicted a “slow recovery” most places.
Dassault Falcon recently celebrated a major milestone with the delivery of its 2000th Falcon. Since the first delivery of the Falcon Mystére 20 in 1965, the Falcon fleet has logged more than 14 million flight hours and 17 different versions of Falcon aircraft have been designed, produced and delivered in 67 countries.
“Delivering our 2000th Falcon is more than a celebration of success,” declared Rosanvallon. “It’s confirmation that all the qualities we’ve been building on since the Falcon Mystére 20 are essential to great flying.” The 2000th Falcon was a 2000LX delivered to Koç Holding, based in Istanbul.