Dassault Falcon 7X set to operate from world's highest commercial airport

Dassault’s Falcon 7X is poised to become the first traditional business jet to be granted approval to operate from the world's highest commercial airport, following completion earlier this month of a two-week flight test campaign at China's Daocheng Yading airport in Sichuan province.

The airframer is hoping to receive Chinese civil aviation authority (CAAC) approval early next year to operate from the airport in western China, which is located at an altitude of 14,500ft.

Daocheng opened one year ago and could become a popular destination, Dassault believes, for its critical Chinese customer base.

“In recent years China has emerged as one of the biggest business aviation markets, and the Falcon line, led by the 7X, has seized a commanding share of this market,” the airframer says. “Nearly 30 Falcon 7Xs are flying in the country, making China the second-largest market for the long-range trijet after the USA.”

Testing at Daocheng began on 25 August, after preliminary flights at Jiuzhai Huanglong airport in Sichuan province – located at an altitude of 11,300ft – with a CAAC pilot at the controls.

After an initial landing at Daocheng, the 7X performed an engine/APU run-up followed by a series of take-offs and landings, including some with simulated engine failure.

Dassault says the flight test campaign was the first to be undertaken over Chinese territory by a foreign-registered aircraft, while certification, when it is granted, will be the first to be issued jointly by CAAC and EASA.

The approval will also pave the way for the 7X to take-off and land at airport elevations up to 15,000ft.