Chinese interest in smaller aircraft is growing, says Dassault Falcon, noting strengthening sales of its Falcon 2000 aircraft in the country.

In some cases, operators of large business jets, such as the 32-metric-ton (70,000 lb.) Falcon 7X, are interested in the Falcon 2000 because they realize that, while they require a second aircraft, they need it only for domestic and Asian regional flying, says Jean Michel Jacob, senior vice president for international sales at Dassault Falcon.

In other cases, the buyers of Falcon 2000s are customers who cannot afford the largest aircraft or do not see a need to spend so much money. Rising interest from such people is a sign of the maturing of the Chinese market, which has been focused heavily on the most impressive and therefore largest aircraft. The Falcon 2000 has a gross weight of 19 tons (41,000 lb.).

A shortage of available pilots is playing a role in the Chinese market, says Dassault Falcon President Jean Rosanvallon. While a lack of available pilots has not yet cost sales, sometimes sales are delayed while a customer works to line up pilots.

The company has sent three pilots to work in Beijing to help customers get the most out of their aircraft. It is not just a matter of learning the advanced systems. In China, pilots are often reluctant to fly an aircraft more than 4,500 nm, even though they know well that it is capable of 6,500 nm. Dassault’s pilots in Beijing and a dispatcher whom the company employs in Hong Kong work with new owners and their pilots to overcome that reluctance.

Dassault took orders for eight aircraft from Chinese buyers last year, says Jacob.