Dassault Aviation will decide by early next year whether to launch a mid-size addition to its business jet range – what it calls "a Falcon at an affordable price" – says chairman and chief executive Charles Edelstenne.

The twin-engined aircraft, priced at under $20 million, would fill a gap at the bottom of the Falcon range, similar in size but with shorter range than the Falcon 50 trijet. Such an aircraft has long been in discussion at the French manufacturer. Now Edelstenne says a definitive decision to proceed with its development will be taken in the "next six to nine months".

Dassault says it will only launch the aircraft if it can be produced at a price that would attract "a very high market".

* Dassault flew its Falcon 900DX for the first time on 13 May, eight days after the Falcon 7X made its first flight. During the 3h flight the 900DX reached 41,000ft (12,500m) and 370kt (680km/h). The $32 million 900DX is intended to fill a gap between the $25 million Falcon 2000EX and the $35 million Falcon 900EX and will replace the 900C when it enters service later this year.

The DX features a partially redesigned fuel system and Dassault's Honeywell Primus Epic-based EASy flightdeck. Certification is earmarked for the third quarter.

Source: Flight International