Saudi Arabia's Wallan Aviation has extended its relationship with Dassault Falcon by completing the purchase of a Falcon 5X twin jet, one of the latest models from the French manufacturer. The aircraft, which has 5,200 nm range, will be delivered in 2018. Wallan will operate it for the company's own use, with the option to charter.
The operator believes that Falcons are well-suited to the needs of the region, offering spacious and comfortable cabins with low cabin pressure, large luggage storage capacity and long range. The company already has experience of operating a Falcon 900EX EASy and a Falcon 900LX.
Chairman Saad Wallan comments: “We chose the Falcon 5X because it is the right aircraft for the Middle East; it is so well adapted to the way we travel in the region and will sit alongside our current Falcons and other platforms, as our business continues to grow steadily in the regional market. Our experience of operating the Falcons has been very positive and we are able to service and maintain all the aircraft ourselves, with the local support of Dassault.
“These aircraft also hold their value very well and offer very good operating economies.”
The Middle East accounts for 20 per cent of current worldwide sales for the Falcon 5X, which was announced in 2013. It is on track for a first flight in the second quarter of 2015 and is expected to begin entering service in the Middle East in the second half of 2017.
Wallan is also enhancing its rotary fleet with the addition of two Bell 505 Jet Ranger X along with a Bell 429. The Bell 429 will be configured for utility missions and has an expected delivery date of March 2015. The Bell 505 will be used for training and corporate transport missions.
“With this agreement, I feel we are making an investment in the future of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” continues Saad Wallan. “There is a need for vertical lift in the Kingdom, for tasks such as traffic control, border protection, training and vip transport. We want to be able to provide the ideal solution.”
He concludes: “Bell Helicopter makes excellent products, backed by award-winning customer support. We chose the 429 because of its advanced features and performance capabilities in the hot conditions of the Middle East. The 505 Jet Ranger X provides multi-mission capability in extreme environments at a competitive price.”
Wallan Aviation has been operating in the Middle East for more than 20 years and has since expanded its portfolio to include charter, aircraft sales, maintenance and a flight academy. The group employs more than 800 staff, with a team of 35 dedicated specifically to Wallan Aviation.