Dassault hints at new Falcon launch in 2017


Falcon Family

Dassault Aviation’s chairman Éric Trappier has dropped the strongest hint yet that a new Falcon will be launched in 2017.

Speaking to Corporate Jet Investor during the opening ceremony for the new Falcon service centre in Bordeaux, Trappier said he will not wait for a recovery in the business jet market before launching a new model.

Earlier Trappier had said that 2016 has been tough for everybody, and that he did not see market conditions improving before 2018 at the earliest.

Although Trappier would not expand further on any possible aircraft launch, he did say that waiting for a recovery would put Dassault behind their competition when the recovery did come.

Dassault has been believed to be studying a stretched version of the Falcon 5X for several years. Many believe this will be called the Falcon 9X, although when asked, Trappier laughs and says the new Falcon will be called NX, saying it will be “NX as it is the next Falcon”.

Although the Falcon 9X was originally thought to be a simple stretch of the 5X, it is now believed that the 9X will feature three engines, rather than the two engines of the 5X.

If it is the Falcon 9X that is launched, the number sequencing suggests that the aircraft will have higher specs and a larger cabin than the current top-of-the-range Dassault aircraft, the Falcon 8X – itself a one meter stretch of the Falcon 7X.

The Falcon 8X, launched at the 2014 EBACE show, has a maximum range of 6,450 nm, which is a shade above the max range of the new Gulfstream G600. Although the development costs of the aircraft are unknown, it is unlikely that Dassault would pour money into an aircraft development that they plan to replace in several years times.

To make an aircraft that would not cannibalise potential sales of the Falcon 8X, Dassault would need to design an aircraft that does not have similar specs, most notably the range.

With the 7X having lower range than the 8X, Dassault would ideally be looking to up the range of the 8X.

The jump from the 7X to the 8X is roughly 500nm. If the jump from the 8X to the 9X is also 500nm then that would put the aircraft in the same range bracket as the baseline Gulfstream G650. A touch further and it could be similar to both the G650ER and the Global 70000.

Although Dassault would not comment any further on any new aircraft development, they have previously said that it is the top end of the market that they are more comfortable working.

If so that would give more credence to the possible emergence of a larger Falcon.