The Falcon 2000S has been redesigned, repackaged and repriced to compete in the super-midsize (SMS) jet market. It can fly six passengers 3,350 nm at 0.80 indicated Mach (0.789 true Mach) and land with NBAA IFR reserves. The cabin is about 10 to 20% larger than a typical SMS, so the 2000S will accommodate eight to 10 people comfortably for transcontinental U.S. trips.

Dassault believes that many people in the market for an SMS aircraft actually would prefer a large-cabin Falcon if it were competitive in purchase price and operating cost. With a standard equipped price of $27.1 million, the Falcon 2000S is $1.3 million more than the Bombardier Challenger 350 and about $2 million above a typically equipped Gulfstream G280. The 2000S has an impressively low empty weight for a large-cabin aircraft. So, its fuel consumption and direct operating costs are nearly the same as the two main SMS competitors, Dassault officials assert. In the 10-passenger configuration, its cost per seat mile actually is lower than eight- to nine-passenger SMS aircraft.

The S model thus puts to rest any speculation about when or how the French firm will create a clean-sheet SMS business aircraft. The 2000S will be the smallest, lightest, most economical Falcon Jet in Dassault's product line for the foreseeable future.

Larger cabin volume and competitive operating efficiency aren't the Falcon 2000S's only strong points. Typically equipped, it can carry eight passengers with full tanks, so it has good payload-versus-range performance. It also has a bigger galley and baggage compartment than its two SMS competitors. And it offers better runway performance than either competitor because it has lower takeoff and landing speeds.

The 2000S concept was jointly developed in 2009 by John Rosanvallon, president of U.S.-based Dassault Falcon Jet, and Olivier Villa, Dassault Aviation's senior vice president of civil aircraft. Both of them wanted a re-creation of the transcontinental U.S.-range 1994 Falcon 2000 Classic but in an aircraft updated with all possible improvements that were feasible in light of the price target.

The 2000 Classic had 3,000+ nm range but not the best possible runway performance because it only had partial-span leading edge slats. So, Dassault fitted the 2000S with the Falcon 900LX's full-span slats and high-lift trailing edge flaps, plus Aviation Partners Inc. blended winglets. The avionics and interior of the 2000 Classic were barebones basic, so the 2000S gets the newest Dassault EASy II cockpit and a BMW Group DesignworksUSA interior.

The biggest challenge for Dassault's production specialists was meeting manufacturing cost targets for the new aircraft, thereby enabling the Falcon 2000S to compete in the SMS category.

Dassault's last attempt at this was with the Falcon 2000DX, a shorter-range version of the 2007 Falcon 2000EX. The DX's sales foundered because it had 20% less range than the EX, but it only was only $2.2 million less expensive. The value equation didn't work for buyers, so Dassault was forced to discontinue the model after two years.

Fast forward six years. The 2000S has about 20% less range than the 2000LX or LXS, but it's priced $5 million to $6 million less than the longer-range models. So, Dassault can squeeze the 2000S into the upper end of the SMS segment rather than have it compete directly in the large-cabin class. Dassault, as a result, has high hopes for a much longer and more robust production run than it experienced with the 2000DX.

To control manufacturing costs and thus purchase price, the French firm focused on three main areas. First, four years ago the demand for business aircraft, even large-cabin models, was softer than a soufflé at Guy Savoy. This was a powerful bargaining chip for Dassault to put the squeeze on vendors to reduce parts prices. Next, the firm refined its planning processes and continued to improve lean manufacturing on production lines, thereby reducing labor and energy costs. And finally, Falcon 2000S buyers would be offered a choice of three standard cabin layouts, enabling Dassault to speed completions by shifting more of the furnishing and finishing processes to the green aircraft production line.