Today at EBACE 2014, Dassault took the wraps off the Falcon 8X–a 7X derivative with a 3.6-foot-longer fuselage (at 42.6 feet) and 500 nm more range (at 6,450 nm). The flagship 8X, priced at approximately $58 million (10 percent more than the Falcon 7X), is expected to fly in the first quarter of next year. Certification is expected in mid-2016, with deliveries beginning in the second half of that year.
Dassault Falcon 7X
Eric Trappier, Dassault Aviation’s chairman and CEO, said late in April that he found the business jet market “a little bit slow.” He would like to see a more active market, especially in the U.S.“But step-by-step we are back on the right track, in terms of orders,” he added. AIN understands that Falcon salespeople have found the first four months of 2014 tougher than expected.
Only seven months after having unveiled the Falcon 5X, a cleansheet design, Dassault Aviation (Booth 7090) is here taking the wraps off the Falcon 8X, a significant upgrade over the existing Falcon 7X. A longer cabin will offer more layout possibilities, while a greater range, at 6,450 nm (a 500-nm increase), is making more city pairs possible between Asia, Europe and the Americas.
Gulfstream Aerospace continues to build on its momentum of last year with deliveries of 39 completed aircraft during the first quarter, a 34.5-percent increase on Q1 2013. This is on the back of a total of 144 deliveries last year, a 53.2-percent rise from the company’s performance for 2012.
Dassault is planning to roll out several improvements for the Falcon 7X this year, both as retrofit and for new-production aircraft. One of these upgrades includes the fuel system, which is being modified to cut refueling time.
To increase operational availability, Falcon 7X maintenance intervals are being increased. The basic check, which used to take place every two months, is now being rescheduled for every 300 flight hours. Moreover, the time between two A-checks will be extended sometime next year.
Dassault is considering using a large proportion of composite materials on the next generation of Falcons. “Hopefully we will have a full composite wing 10 years from now,” an executive at the company’s Biarritz factory, which has expertise in composites manufacturing, told AIN.
The rationale is that the expected weight reduction will provide fuel savings. Another executive at the Bordeaux Martignas plant, which specializes in wings–so far made of aluminum alloys–confirmed the new path.
Business aircraft charter and management firm Elit’Avia received an aircraft operator certificate (AOC) from Transport Malta and has inducted three aircraft under this certificate. The company is now managing a Dassault Falcon 7X and Bombardier Global XRS and Challenger 605 on the Malta aircraft registry, the latter two of which are available for charter. The Falcon will initially be operated privately.
Dassault Aviation rolled out the 250th Falcon 7X this week at the aircraft manufacturer’s Charles Lindbergh Hall in Mérignac near Bordeaux, France.
The milestone trijet entered final assembly earlier this year and will fly to the Falcon completion center in Little Rock, Arkansas, in June. It will be delivered to its customer before year-end.
Although Dassault Falcon Jet’s current line of business jets satisfies the needs of buyers who want large, wide cabins, there is no Falcon Jet that flies as far as the ultra-long range Gulfstream G650 or upcoming Bombardier Global jets. But that should soon change, as the Falcon family is slated to see an announcement about a new member at the EBACE show in Geneva next month.
Some 200 companies will be exhibiting at the three-day Asian Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition (ABACE), which starts next Tuesday at Shanghai Hongqiao Airport. Organized by NBAA in partnership with the Shanghai Airport Authority, the event will be located once more at the Shanghai Hawker Pacific Business Aviation Service Centre–a joint venture between the Shanghai Airport Authority and Hawker Pacific–with the Asian Business Aviation Association (AsBAA) co-hosting the event.