“[New billionaires in fast-growing countries] have to buy longer-range airplanes. If you’re flying from Mongolia to Nigeria, it’s either a three-day journey flying commercial or a nine-hour flight on your jet.”
Dassault Plans Bigger Falcon Family
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 baby next month.
“You will see that we are continuing to build the Falcon family and we’ll announce a new member of the Falcon family with more range,” said John Rosanvallon, president and CEO of Dassault Falcon Jet at Dassault’s ABACE 2014 press conference at the Asian Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition (ABACE) in Shanghai.
The largest Falcon jet, the fly-by-wire, three-engine 7X, reached a milestone during the ABACE show, with the rollout of the 250th 7X at Dassault Falcon’s factory in Mérignac, France. This 7X will fly to Dassault Falcon’s completion center in Little Rock, Arkansas, in June and then be delivered to the buyer by the end of the year. Currently there are 216 7Xs in service in 34 countries, and the fleet has accumulated 250,000 flight hours since entry into service in 2007.
Dassault Falcon saw greatly improved sales in China last year, and 2014 is shaping up to be strong as well. Rosanvallon attributes the company’s success in China to its strong product support, marketing and customer service efforts. “In all areas of sales and marketing and customer service, we really invested heavily,” Rosanvallon said.
The Chinese customer service efforts are managed through Dassault Falcon’s wholly owned foreign entity, which represents the Falcon brand in China and is staffed by all Chinese-speaking employees. In Shanghai, the Dassault Falcon Services-Shanghai operation, in coordination with Shanghai Hawker Pacific, is now two years old and is staffed by Falcon-trained technicians. Two Falcon pilots are located in Beijing to support local operators with ferry flights, demo flights, jump-seat support and any other Falcon flying issues. An operations manager in Beijing can assist with training local operators on aircraft dispatch, flight planning and aircraft performance monitoring functions.
Plans are underway to add even more investment in Dassault Falcon’s customer support efforts in China, including increasing inventory to 3,000 parts valued at more than $13 million, which will triple the number of spares in China. This is scheduled for completion by this summer. Dassault Falcon has also added more special tools throughout its network, and these are available as rentals to Falcon jet operators.