NBAA: Dassault cautiously optimistic about recovery

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Dassault remains cautious about the path to recovery at the top end of the business aircraft spectrum despite prices of used Falcons stabilizing and the preowned inventory shrinking.

"Commercial activity has significantly increased in the past few months - particularly with the 7X - and this is having an impact on new aircraft sales," said Dassault CEO Charles Edelstenne. "But we are still way behind 2007 activity levels."

Edelstenne pointed to the booming markets of Brazil, Eastern Europe, India and China, which are helping to drive the market recovery. "The best news still comes from China, which has been our number-one market since the beginning of the year. We expect to deliver a record 15 Falcons to China next year," he added.

 dassault falcon

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In contrast, Dassault's sales prospects in North America and Western Europe remain weak. "There are a few sparks here, but the debt crisis makes any recovery in these markets fragile." In addition to the market collapse that hit the whole industry, Dassault also had "the competitive disadvantage of a very strong euro," Edelstenne said.

Dassault plans to deliver 65 Falcons this year and "continues to remain profitable" Edelstenne said, "but we need to be ready to cope with more sudden changes for a growing demand or another downturn."

Meanwhile, the Falcon fleet has flown more than 150,000,000 flight hours since the first family member - a Falcon 20 - entered service in 1965.