Dassault Falcon deliveries hit 10-year low in 2015

Dassault Falcon business jet deliveries hit their lowest level for 10 years in 2015 due to a slump in demand for large-cabin and long-range business jets from the previously booming markets of China, Russia, and Latin America.

According to preliminary numbers released by the French airframer on 5 January, shipments of Falcon 2000S/LXS, 900LX, and 7X business jets fell to 55 for the year to 31 December 2015. This compares with 68 Falcons delivered during the same period in 2014 and 75 in 2013. Dassault also recorded a 72% fall in net sales during 2015 to 25 aircraft, while its orderbook on 31 December totalled 91 Falcons – 30 fewer than the previous year.

Aerospace analyst Rolland Vincent says the flagship 7X has been hit hardest by the downturn. His view is borne out by Flightglobal’s Fleets Analyzer database, which records just 12 shipments of the 5,950nm (11,000km)-range aircraft in 2015 compared with 28 in 2014 and 43 in 2013.

Vincent attributes the 7X's slide to “a combination of a rather sudden slowdown in emerging markets, which has buffeted demand for long-range aircraft, and a line-up of customers waiting for the new 8X”. The ultra-long-range tri-jet is scheduled to enter service in the second half of 2016.

The slump in Dassault’s fortunes last year was exacerbated by the cancellation of 20 Falcon 2000s by fractional ownership company NetJets. The world’s largest business aircraft operator has dropped the French-manufactured aircraft in favour of models from Bombardier including the super-midsize Challenger 350, large-cabin Challenger 650 and top-end Globals. It currently has an outstanding order for 92 units, according to Fleets Analyzer.

“The NetJets cancellation cut sharply into the Falcon net order intake in 2015, driving the book-to-bill below 0.5," says Vincent. "But this was a one-time event.”

Dassault will release its full 2015 financial performance on 26 February.