Dassault Falcon Jet president and CEO John Rosanvallon has spent the past few days at the static park personally entertaining customers and prospects on board a 900EX demonstrator.
It’s a sign of the company’s commitment to Asia, and a recognition of the region’s potential, that Rosanvallon is taking such a hands-on approach - he anticipates a 300% increase in sales of its aircraft in the region over the next three years. “If you look at the total business jet market in the world today, it is true that Asia only accounts for 2-3% percent of total installed aircraft. There are more planes in Brazil than in the whole of Asia,” he says.
“However, that has been changing over the past two years, and 2007 has confirmed that trend. We are expecting our new sales into the region to grow from 2-3% percent to 10% over the next three years.” The most active markets so far have been Hong Kong and Macau. Rosanvallon says he has been pleased with the high calibre of people attending the exhibition, especially as a number of existing Falcon customers have brought their friends to see the aircraft in the static display.
Although sales for Dassault’s latest 7X aircraft have initially been slow in China, the jet has proven to be a hit worldwide since it was certified earlier this year. Four examples of the type will be in service by the end of September, and Rosanvallon anticipates a big Chinese market for the aircraft, despite the fact production is sold out until the end of 2010.
“People here are interested in the aircraft’s range and the new technology on board,” he says. “We have a big market share in Brazil and areas such as India. Sales are steady in the US but new and expanding markets are such that they represent over half of our total.”
Over next two years DFJ will increase its production capacity by roughly 50%. The company has implemented new production lines and processes to build its new aircraft and is using the same Catia design software that it used on the 7X, as well as product lifecycle management (PLM) processes to speed up completions across its range. The company has built a new completions facility in Little Rock, Arkansas and is adding more people to support production.
Rosanvallon also says that he believes the traditional cyclical downturns in the business aviation market will be counteracted by strong growth in international markets, creating a more robust global industry. He says: “For the last 30-40 years the US was a huge market, accounting for 60-70% of OEM sales.
However, we have seen a large increase in international sales, with a turnaround in 2005, when for the first time we saw more planes outside the US. We are seeing a much stronger Western European, Russian, Brazilian and Asian market share.” He attributes some of the growth to the fact that business travelers are moving away from airline travel, turning instead to private and corporate jets.
Although he would not be drawn on any further developments for the company’s new small-to-midsize jet project, he says there is a niche in the market for aircraft in the $20m segment.
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