SAINT-CLOUD, France, 13 March 2014. Dassault Aviation is presenting its Falcon fleet of large cabin, long-range business jets (bizjets)—including the Falcon 7X trijet, reportedly the first business jet certified with a digital flight control system—at India Aviation, a civilian air show held this week at Hyderabad Begumpet Airport in Hyderabad, India.
"We see improving signs of the Indian market which has been slow recently," says Gilles Gautier, vice president of Falcon sales for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. "India has a real need for expanding business aviation, and we remain bullish about future market prospects."
Dassault provides to the Indian market a portfolio of large cabin, long-range aircraft, with 22 aircraft currently in service and several more on order. Most of the new aircraft orders are for the longest-range Falcon models, capable of flying non-stop to London City Airport from anywhere in India.
The Falcon 2000 twinjet is popular among Indian customers. Two newly introduced versions, the 2000S and 2000LXS, will offer takeoff and landing performance unparalleled among wide body jets, comparable to much smaller midsize and super midsize models, according to company officials. Like the 7X and the long-range Falcon 900LX, the 2000S and LXS have been approved for operation at London City.
Dassault is also showing its new Falcon 5X, said to offer the largest cabin cross-section of any business jet. Initial Indian orders for the large body twinjet are expected this year. The 5X is expected to make its first flight in the first quarter of next year with certification planned at the end of 2016.
Falcons are popular with Indian operators, particularly in the corporate and charter markets, officials say, for their ability to combine short- and long-haul flights and fly out of short hard-to-reach airstrips even at high altitudes and in high-temperature conditions.
The flagship 7X features a large cabin and advanced systems, largely derived from military aircraft.
Ligare acquired the first Indian Falcon 7X, which has been used since 2010 for Ligare's charter operations.
"Dassault has been part of the Indian aviation market for more than 60 years, initially in the military domain," Gautier notes. Our customers understand the benefits that fighter technology brings to business aviation. Soon we will celebrate the 20th anniversary of our first Falcon delivery in India, a Falcon 200 to the Tata group in 1995."
Indian Falcon operators can rely on a growing regional servicing and spares network, officials say. After beefing up its local representation and support office in Delhi, Dassault recently added a second authorized support facility in Mumbai, in cooperation with Tata affiliate Taj Air, and further partnerships are contemplated.
The Taj Air shop services Falcon 2000 and 2000DX/EX/LXS models. Dassault's other Indian authorized support facility, Mumbai-based Air Works India, handles 900EX/LX aircraft.
The network, which includes spares warehouses in Mumbai and Chennai, is backed up by offshore facilities inDubai, Singapore and Paris. Pilot training is available at CAE in Dubai and technical training may soon be offered there as well.