Paris. French aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation unveiled on Wednesday (28/02) its newest business jet, the Falcon 6X, which the company hopes will strengthen its presence on the growing market for this kind of aircraft in Southeast Asia.
The company's latest business jets will fall into the large business jet category, but with the widest cross section in the class, offering more comfort to up to 16 passengers. Dassault expects the aircraft will make its inaugural flight in 2021, and its deliveries are scheduled for 2022.
"The Southeast Asian market is really growing right now. We have customers in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia. We really feel that the new economy that is emerging in Southeast Asia will need business jets," Dassault Aviation chairman and chief executive Eric Trappier told the Jakarta Globe on the sidelines of the Falcon 6X launch event at Le Bourget Airport in Paris.
The aircraft's range of 5,500 nautical miles (10,186 kilometers) is shorter than of Dassault's long-range business jets, the Falcon 7X and 8X, but it can easily fly non-stop from Jakarta to Beijing, Tokyo, Auckland, Istanbul or Nairobi. It is also cheaper to acquire and operate than its predecessors.
"If you want to stay in Asia or in the Middle East only, the 6x will be the solution because it's more comfortable, less expensive. It's already a choice that we propose to our potential customers," Trappier said.
The Falcon 6X is a replacement for the 5X, a project the company had to shelve in 2017, after a three-year delay due drawbacks related to the design of its Snecma Silvercrest engines.
The aircraft has two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW812D engines — the same family of engine that power its closest rival, the Gulfstream G500 — that allow it to fly at a maximum speed of 685 kilometers per hour.
It has new wings designed to reduce turbulence and equipped with novel control surface called flaperon, which supports the aircraft's performance during difficult approach in short airfields that need steep descent.
The Falcon 6X will also feature the latest noise suppression technology, which is currently found in the 8X. It will also have several floor designs to accommodate customer needs.
"The industry has been moving towards ever wider and higher interiors, and customers told us what they wanted most in our new Falcons was more space," said Trappier in a statement.
"So we designed the Falcon 6X from the cabin out, making it as passenger-centric as we could, while still delivering the high performance and other flying qualities that customers value in Falcons."
The 6X will sell for $47 million, Trappier said, cheaper than the 8X, which costs $58 million.
Southeast Asia Optimism
Dassault's presence in Southeast Asia's business jet market is not big, but it is expected to grow by 3 percent to 5 percent annually, said Carlos Brana, senior vice president of civil aircraft at Dassault.
Among 52 business jets operating in Indonesia today, only one comes from Dassault. Gulfstream and Hawker dominate the market, in which the mid-range business jet class prevails, as in the past companies were focused more on regional operations.
Today, more Southeast Asian entrepreneurs invest farther away from their home countries and will require longer-range business jets. Strengthening this view is the fact that Dassault is set to deliver the Falcon 8X aircraft to an Indonesian client by the year's end.
"The infrastructure is being developed and people are taking advantage [of it] by trying to go to do business around Asia or Europe and in the United States, which requires longer-range aircraft," Brana said.
The Jakarta Globe was in Paris by invitation of Dassault Aviation.