Dassault Sees 'Timid Recovery' in Bizjet Market
Dassault Aviation plans to deliver 40 Falcon business jets this year, down from 49 Falcon shipments last year, president and CEO Eric Trappier said recently during a press conference outlining the company’s 2017 financial results. Its 2018 revenues are anticipated to be on par with last year’s total of €4.8 billion ($5.94 billion), which was up from €3.56 billion ($4.4 billion) in 2016.
Dassault logged net orders for 41 Falcons last year, compared with 33 in 2016. "We see some signs of a timid recovery in the business aviation market, as the prices on the secondhand market have stopped [collapsing] and sales of used Falcon are better," said Trappier.
The French aircraft manufactuer has yet to total all of the losses from the cancellation of the Falcon 5X due to problems with the Safran Silvercrest engine, he said. While Dassault has not sued Safran over this issue, Trappier noted, "We are claiming for compensation."
Last week, Dassault launched the Falcon 6X to fill the gap in the super-midsize jet category left by the cancellation of the 5X. But that’s not the only new Falcon that Dassault is working on. Trappier said the company is entering "an active stage of pre-development" regarding its "New Falcon" program, but declined to elaborate.
Meanwhile, deliveries of the Rafale were flat year-over year, at nine aircraft last year. This will increase to 12 this year, consisting of three of the fighters for France and nine for Egypt and Qatar. Dassault also benefitted from additional activities in defense last year, such as the delivery of the eighth French navy Rafale retroffited to F3 standard and ongoing upgrade or support programs on the Mirage 2000 fleet in France, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar.
The company has also continued the development work on the F3-R standard and expects to deliver the first such aircraft this year. Further, its UCAV demonstrator Neuron will continue flight tests this year in France, mainly focused on the stealth capacity. Production rate of the Rafale will reach 2.5 fighters per month—versus one per month in 2017—due to increased export deliveries.