Dassault tries to land New Zealand government Falcon 8X sales


Dassault is flying one its Falcon 8X aircraft to New Zealand’s capital Auckland in hopes of selling one or two aircraft to the NZ Defence Force for VIP transport. That is according to a report in the New Zealand Herald, which adds that the Dassault would be to replace the NZDF’s aging pair of Boeing 757s.

Although the French OEM has apparently not yet contacted the NZDF, a promotional Falcon 8X flight might be on the cards to stir the decision makers’ interest. These are the people who decide the fleet that flies the prime minister and other official dignitaries.

With this, Dassault is continuing its expansion into the East: first, by acquiring ExecuJet’s maintenance activities in the Asia-Pacific region, Oceania, the Middle East and Africa, and next, by ramping up production at its DRAL plant in India. Last week, Dassault even acquired TAG Aviation’s European maintenance centres.

The company’s Asia-Pacific president, Jean-Michel Jacob, said many other governments used Falcon aircraft for VIP transport, and the manufacturer wanted to make planners aware of what was available.

”We think it might be in their interest to consider this to replace their Boeing 757 – with an aircraft like a Falcon 8X,” he said at the Air Center One private aircraft base, at Auckland Airport.

In terms of seating capacity, the 8X peaks at 16, as compared to the 757’s 160 limit; however, it can fly much further, much faster and into much-smaller airfields.

The 757s were nearing the end of their commercial airline life when they were bought by the Royal New Zealand Air Force last decade. They have been substantially overhauled and modified, but are becoming increasingly unreliable, reports the NZ Herald.

The Falcon 8X was on display at the Avalon Air Show held recently in Australia and was reportedly being shown to three potential buyers in NZ thereafter.

Interest aside, it will be some years before any deal can be finalised for the NZ Defence Force.

New Zealand is an optimum market for long-range and large-cabin business jets, given the distances involved in flying to and from the country. And the Falcon 8X can fly non-stop to Los Angeles and Beijing – ideal for HNWIs and companies flying out of NZ cities.