Dassault Aviation’s new Falcon 6X business jet will conduct its first flight in days, chief executive Eric Trappier has confirmed.
He also indicated the aircraft is on course to be delivered to clients in 2022, while hinting yet another new Falcon could be unveiled in “months, or even weeks”.
One of the biggest bizjet launches in years, the 6X’s cabin is the tallest and widest in business aviation, yet has a 5,500 nautical mile range, long enough to fly non-stop between London to Hong Kong or LA to Moscow.
In a recent interview with Australian Aviation, Dassault VP of civil aircraft Carlos Brana said the 6X was a “special aircraft” because it included technology developed for its military jets.
“The digital flight control system is, in our opinion, the best in the world, because it is derived from fighter jets,” said Brana.
“So for safety, comfort and performance, this aircraft is outstanding. In terms of innovation, we put more emphasis on the cabin, and particularly in the cabin size. You can land on short runways, and particularly in Australia, where we know some of the runways are particularly challenging.”
The launch is significant because Dassault’s 2020 results were dominated by lower demand for its Falcon jets as well as a lower contribution from the 35 per cent-owned French aerospace firm Thales.
Dassault delivered 34 Falcons in 2020, less than Bombardier and General Dynamics’ Gulfstream, with more than 100 each.
Last week, World of Aviation reported how the General Aviation Manufacturers Association reported that worldwide business jet deliveries fell 20.4 per cent in 2020, despite an uptick in the last quarter.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic saw deliveries fall to 644 aircraft for the year, down from 809 deliveries in 2019.
Meanwhile, helicopter deliveries fell 17.7 per cent in 2020 compared with 2019, with total billings down 16.2 per cent to $2.7 billion, from $3.2 billion the year prior.
Chief executive of Embraer’s executive jets division, Mike Amalfitano, said, “Behaviours are changing. The buyers are no longer asking the questions that they would have normally asked about the aircraft in terms of performance. They’re focused on how clean it is. They’re focused on the air quality.”