Dassault Holds To 2022 For Falcon 6X Entry Into Service

Falcon 6X.
Credit: Dassault Aviation

LYON, France–The entry into service of the new Falcon 6X is still scheduled for 2022, despite the difficulties that the COVID-19 crisis caused in the business jet’s development, according to Dassault Aviation Chairman and CEO Eric Trappier.

The pandemic led to delays, as some workplaces were temporarily closed, teams had to reorganize and subcontractors postponed deliveries, Trappier said. He therefore predicts the entry into service will take place late next year.

Trappier was speaking March 5 at the company’s annual press conference, held remotely this year from its Saint-Cloud headquarters near Paris.

The first prototype is currently undergoing taxiing trials, he says. “The first flight will take place this quarter, as planned.” In total, three development aircraft have joined the test phase. The fourth and fifth aircraft are being put together.

Meanwhile, the next program in Dassault’s business jet activity will be unveiled by June, Trappier promises. It is the first program for which the design office is factoring in end-of-life recycling.

Last year, the airframer delivered 34 Falcons. The number included a combined four multimission aircraft to France, Germany and Japan. The initial forecast, 40, was downgraded at midyear to 30.

A mere 15 orders were received in 2020, including seven Falcon 2000LXS for France’s Albatros maritime surveillance program. Customers lacked visibility and the new aircraft market is experiencing continuing price pressure, Trappier says. Europe was the most affected region. Sales activity seems to be restarting in the U.S., Trappier adds.

In contrast, the secondhand market “behaved very well,” he says.

The backlog stood at 34, worth €2.1 billion ($2.5 billion) as of Dec. 31, 2020, down from 53 one year before. Falcon orders were valued at €1.9 billion and sales generated €2.2 billion (including aftermarket revenues).

For this year, Trappier anticipates the delivery of 25 Falcons “despite great uncertainty.”

Thierry Dubois

Thierry Dubois has specialized in aerospace journalism since 1997. An engineer in fluid dynamics from Toulouse-based Enseeiht, he covers the French commercial aviation, defense and space industries. His expertise extends to all things technology in Europe. Thierry is also the editor-in-chief of Aviation Week’s ShowNews.