For Dassault Falcon, the sky's the limit

Updated: 2011-03-22 07:52

By Wang Zhuoqiong (China Daily)

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The market is set to take off for the French manufacturer of business jets

BEIJING - Having delivered three airplanes to China last year and another eight so far this year, the French business aircraft maker Dassault Falcon Jet Corp sees the country's burgeoning private sector as a new focus point.

"They are private enterprises with big interests in developing their business abroad," said Jean-Michel Jacob, vice-president of international sales at Dassault Falcon. "They need big jets that can travel a long distance and can be flexible with their business schedules."

The French business-jet manufacturer set up a sales and marketing office in Beijing in December, in addition to its existing offices in Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to promote its wares in China.

The decision to explore China, following on from the company's presence in the United States, Europe and emerging economies such as Brazil, Jacob said, was made to follow the growth of Chinese economy.

"The economy is booming. Business jets are necessary tools for growth," he said.

In the first two months of this year, the company has made deals for five aircraft with five companies.

Dassault Falcon - which is part of the Dassault Group - is expected to sell 15 aircraft in China this year, or 20 percent of its global production.

The rise of the industry in China is being boosted by growing demand from businesses, and by changes in government policies and attitudes that have encouraged the plane makers to develop further.

Last year, China's government gave the green light for an opening up of parts of its low-altitude airspace to private aircraft as a means of facilitating business development and general aviation. Recent announcements concerning the construction of more airports nationwide will also boost business.

China's emerging business-aviation sector is expected to demand 950 new regional jets in the next 20 years or 14 percent of deliveries worldwide, according to a forecast by the aircraft maker Embraer SA.

There are currently 116 business jets operating in China. Of those, 43 were provided by Gulfstream Aerospace Corp, Cessna Aircraft Company made 25 and Bombardier Inc 21, according to statistics from Firestone Management Group in January.

Chinese customers, mostly private companies and wealthy individuals, prefer large, expensive aircraft, said Trevor Esling, vice-president of international sales at Cessna, which has delivered jets to the Chinese government for the past three decades.

"When Chinese people want to buy something, they want the best and most expensive. The $50-million aircraft is where the market is now," he said.

China Daily


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