LITTLE ROCK, Ark., 3 Sept. 2014. Dassault Falcon Jet officials broke ground on a major expansion and upgrade of the company’s Little Rock, Arkansas completion facility dedicated to two new models, the Falcon 5X very large body twin jet and ultra-long range Falcon 8X trijet.
The $60 million project will add 250,000 square-feet of new production and completion space, bringing the total facility footprint to 1.25 million square feet, scheduled to be completed by early 2016 for initial 5X and 8X deliveries. The cabinet, upholstery, and headliner shops will also be refurbished and older hangars upgraded.
The groundbreaking ceremony was attended by Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe, Vice Chairman Little Rock Airport Commission Jesse Mason and Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola, as well as Dassault Aviation Chairman and CEO Eric Trappier, Chief Operating Officer Loïk Segalen and Dassault Falcon Jet President and CEO John Rosanvallon.
“This undertaking demonstrates a commitment to continue our investment in Little Rock and to ensure the facility will remain at the forefront of completion technology,” Trappier says. “Little Rock is not only the company’s largest industrial plant, it is also an industry leader in digital completion techniques, which Dassault pioneered.”
“Dassault has been completing Falcons in Little Rock for more than 40 years,” adds Rosanvallon. “Over that time span it has built up a wealth of completion know how and experience that is unrivalled in the industry and is so critical to the quality and reputation of Falcon aircraft.”
“Dassault’s Little Rock facility brings international attention to the strength of our state’s aerospace sector,” Governor Mike Beebe affirms. “We are proud to include Dassault among the world-class companies that call Arkansas home, and we appreciate its Little Rock workforce whose skill and hard work made this expansion possible.”
The expansion follows a $20 million 116,000 square-foot upgrade in 2008 that added four new state of the art paint bays, along with new production, design and warehouse space, to accommodate the very long range Falcon 7X.
The history of the Little Rock facility dates back to 1975. In that year, ‘Falcon Jet Corp.’ – then a Dassault Aviation/Pan American Airways joint venture – purchased Little Rock Airmotive, a 61,500 square foot hangar and office facility, and integrated it into its global production line.
In the early seventies, FedEx founder Fred Smith had used Little Rock Airmotive to convert a fleet of Falcon 20 aircraft to cargo transports that he used to launch the now famous overnight delivery service. So when Falcon Jet Corp. acquired the facility, its workforce was already familiar with the Falcon product line. Making Little Rock even more attractive was a large pool of artisans skilled in cabinetry, carpentry, leather goods, upholstery and a range of other related activities.
In 2010, Dassault Falcon Jet received approval from the FAA for the use of 3D data during the completion process, making it the first OEM to receive approval for both 3D type design and completion. In addition to enhancing quality, 3D completion provides an opportunity for the customer to visualize the final configuration of the aircraft.
Dassault Falcon Jet Corp. is a wholly owned U.S. subsidiary of Dassault Aviation, France. Dassault Falcon Jet markets and supports the Falcon family of business jets throughout North America, South America and the Pacific Rim countries of Asia, including the People’s Republic of China.