Shipments of business jets at Dassault will hit around 45 this year, up slightly on the 41 aircraft handed over in 2018, as the sector begins a tentative recovery.

Chief executive Eric Trappier says he sees "a slight increase in the market", but says that the manufacturer will "remain prudent", given the uncertain global outlook.

Dassault received 42 net orders for its Falcon business jet family in 2018, yielding a total backlog of 53 aircraft.

As an indicator of sector recovery, the airframer managed to sell off "a certain number" of the used Falcons it had acquired, retaining a small number for client services.

"We have more or less done away with the inventory of pre-owned aircraft that we had built up over a number of years," said Trappier, speaking in Paris on 28 February.

That shows a "stabilisation" of the pre-owned market, he says.

Although Trappier stresses that the market for new jets is "not booming", he notes that "in general it is progressing compared with the other years where it was very low".

Dassault has also reinforced its support network with the recent acquisitions of the maintenance activities of ExecuJet and TAG Aviation.



These will be kept as stand-alone operations and will remain manufacturer agnostic, says Trappier, citing the example of Jet Aviation, which, despite its ownership by Gulfstream parent General Dynamics, continues to work across all types, including Falcon jets.

However, Trappier says the acquisitions will help to mitigate any "risk" from any over-reliance on maintenance services from a competitor-owned provider.

Dassault continues to develop a number of conventional business jets, but for the moment has ruled out any interest in supersonic travel.

US start-up Aerion has secured Boeing's backing for its AS2 jet, but given the regulatory burdens limiting their use, Trappier is unconvinced that a supersonic aircraft currently presents a compelling business case for Dassault.

While acknowledging that the company has "always dreamed" of such a development, Trappier points out that there are many obstacles to overcome.

"We would need to know that such an ambition would be successful.

"We are not saying [not ever] – we see things that are happening. But we are saying no today – we are not putting money into a supersonic aircraft."