French airframer Dassault is expected to launch a stretched version of its Falcon 7X at the European Business A­viation Convention and Exhibition in May. According to a source close to the programme, the aircraft – likely to be called the 8X – will be around 1m (3.2ft) longer than the 7X. The type will have a range of around 6,500nm (12,000km). Dassault has no plans to replace the 7X, the source says, ­although the company is mindful that the new model could cannibalise sales of the trijet – of which the airframer delivered a record 43 aircraft last year.

The 7X entered service in 2007 as Dassault’s flagship business jet. Over the intervening years, however, rivals Gulfstream and Bombardier have launched large-cabin, longer-range competitors –the G650, and Global 7000 and 8000, respectively. Dassault is hoping to take on these competitors with its all-new top-of-the-range jet, called either the 9X or 10X. The aircraft – based on the new 5X launched last November – could be revealed in around three years, the source says. ■