Dassault Aviation says that the Chinese market has been flat for the past two years, but it is now seeing signs of recovery thanks to the resilience of the domestic economy. “China in recent years has been transformed from an export-driven economy to one driven by strong domestic demand,” states Carlos Brana, executive VP of civil aircraft. “Structural changes in the economy have also occurred that have helped prepare China’s business aviation sector for growth in the years ahead. Chinese companies increasingly have their factories further inland, away from China’s more expensive coastal cities. This has helped to drive demand for business jets domestically, as business owners need an efficient mode of air transportation to get to their factories. Chinese companies have also been investing heavily in southeast Asia particularly Vietnam, Cambodia, Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia. Chinese businesspeople who have overseas investments need the convenience of a business jet.”
Dassault Aviation is well-placed to capitalise on this thanks to its strong presence in the region and current product line-up. The upcoming Falcon 6X has the largest cross section of the purpose-built business jets on the market. This feature makes it comfortable, even with a high number of passengers. The 5,500 nm range of the 6X means it can fly non-stop to anywhere in Asia as well as to Australia and New Zealand. The jet can fly fast, but the approach speed for landing can be as low as 109 kts. A slow approach speed for landing is important, particularly when accessing small and challenging airports. The 6X can access smaller airports commercial aircraft are unable to.
The 6X made its first flight in early March and will enter service later in 2022, so the most popular Dassault types in Asia currently are the Falcon 7X and the Falcon 2000. The 7X is popular in Asia because it has a large cabin and it is a long-range aircraft. Asian customers, says Brana, like the fact the 7X can fly to anywhere in Asia non-stop and can fly from Asia to Europe non-stop.
The reason the 7X provides comfort is not just because of the spaciousness of the interior cabin. It is also due to the cabin pressurisation system that provides a low 3,900 feet cabin altitude when flying at a high cruise altitude of 41,000 feet. The cabin also features a sophisticated temperature control system and an extremely low noise level at 50 to 52dB. The 7X comes with an optional shower that can be used in flight or on the ground.
The Falcon 8X, which provides extra cabin length and range, is also making its way to the Asian market. The smoothness of the flight combined with the quietness of the cabin are two major assets for the passengers’ comfort.
“With the advent of the pandemic, we have seen many new customers in Asia enter the market wanting to buy a business jet,” Brana goes on. “If their mission is primarily to fly within Asia Pacific, they tend to opt for the Falcon 2000. The 2000LXS version, for example, can fly from Singapore non-stop to anywhere in the Asia Pacific region. You can fly Singapore-Melbourne or Singapore-Sapporo or Singapore-Dubai. You can fly to Europe with one stop. Because the Asia Pacific region has so much potential, Dassault Aviation has made major investments in customer support in the region. When people are buying a business jet for the first time, it is a question they ask. This is why Dassault Aviation several years ago developed an extensive customer support network in Asia Pacific using highly qualified third-party MRO organisations. More recently, Dassault decided to add to that comprehensive MRO network a Dassault-owned MRO organisation. It was achieved via the acquisition in 2019 of ExecuJet MRO Services which has MRO facilities in Australia, China, Malaysia and elsewhere serving the Asia Pacific region. The ExecuJet MRO Services facilities in Asia Pacific have been steadily adding to their Falcon MRO capability as some customers prefer to send their aircraft to a factory-owned facility.”
This year, Dassault plans to remain close to its customers and do what is required to help and support them. “We’ll also make sure our customers get their aircraft on time,” says Brana. “We’ll focus on certification of the 6X and continue our efforts to have this airplane in service end of 2022. In addition, we are working on a new Falcon that will be publicly announced in the coming months. Of course, our sales activity remains paramount and our teams are proactively engaging with new customers wanting to buy a business jet.”