Barring a last-minute move by one of the four potential suppliers, Dassault will within two weeks announce the engine that will power its new super mid-size jet. The "Future Falcon" will replace the 50EX at the bottom of the manufacturer's range and is expected to reach the market in 2012.

Speaking last week after the certification ceremony in Merignac, near Bordeaux, for the ultra-long-range 7X, chairman and chief executive Charles Edelstenne said "active discussions" were continuing with Honeywell, Pratt & Whitney Canada, Rolls-Royce and Snecma. The 352nd and final 50X, powered by Honeywell's TFE731, will be delivered this summer, leaving a gap below the 2000EX twinjet and larger 900 models.

Dassault is predicting between 400 and 500 sales of the 7X and a 40% share of the expanding long-range business jet market, in which it competes with Bombardier's Global models and Gulfstream's G550. "I can see 1,000 very-long-range business jets flying by 2010-13 - in a segment that did not exist 10 years ago," said John Rosanvallon, president of Dassault Falcon, speaking at the event.

This year, the company expects to make 15 deliveries of the 7X, the first fly-by-wire business jet, with output ramping up to 40 a year from 2008. Thirty aircraft are currently in production at Merignac and a further seven are being outfitted at Dassault's completion facility in Little Rock, Arkansas, with first customer delivery - aircraft five - this month.

Source: Flight International