Dassault Aviation announced a major new maintenance facility to be built in Melbourne, Florida at NBAA. “This new factory service center will considerably grow our presence in the U.S., positioning us to keep up with demand for state-of-the-art maintenance services as the Falcon fleet grows and as new models such as the Falcon 10X and the extra widebody Falcon 6X enter service,” said Dassault Aviation Chairman and CEO Eric Trappier.
Intended to serve customers across North and South America and beyond, the 175,000 square-foot complex will accommodate all current Falcon models, (including the new, ultra-long range Falcon 10X, the largest purpose-built business jet), and will be capable of performing major maintenance and modifications on up to 18 Falcon models simultaneously.
The Melbourne facility will be a heavy maintenance platform capable of handling a full range of inspection, repair, and overhaul activities, from line maintenance through C checks, as well as engineering and modification services. It will be equipped with workshops, customer offices, and lounges, along with a large warehouse to support shop activity and serve as a regional distribution hub. Additionally, the site will be home to a 54,000-square-foot paint shop. Construction in Melbourne is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2023 and opening is set for late 2024.
There are several models from Dassault Aviation on the static display at NBAA 2022. The “extra wide body” Falcon 6X with a complete interior was on display, prior to its scheduled mid-2023 entry into service. The existing Falcon 8X was also at the static display, along with a Falcon 2000 and the interior mock-up of the forthcoming Falcon 10X.
The Falcon 6X has the tallest and widest cabin of any purpose-built business jet, and recently completed a round-the-world tour this summer. The aircraft made 50 flights over five continents and amassed 150 hours of flight time as it made multiple daily demonstration flights during the tour.
The Falcon 6X is approaching certification, with customer deliveries expected in the middle of next year. The 19th 6X is current on the final assembly line and three customer aircraft are already in the completion process at Dassault Aviation’s Little Rock interior facility.
Eric Trappier, Dassault Aviation’s Chairman and CEO had high praise for the aircraft. “Pilots gave all systems, including new features of the EASy IV flight deck, high marks and assessed performance as spot on.” During the certification process and hot and cold weather trials the 6X “distinguished itself as an extremely remarkable aircraft, sailing through its certification campaign.”
The elements required for entry into service are falling into place. The aircraft certification appears to be on schedule. The Pratt & Whitney Canada 812D engines for the 6X have received EASA certification, and FAA certification is pending and expected shortly. Pilot training will begin in April with a full flight simulator installed at CAE Burgess Hill in the UK.
The interior mock-up of the Falcon 10X is also on display at the NBAA. The 10X is on track for a 2025 entry into service, with significant progress on several fronts. The first wing has been completed and the first fuselage is scheduled prior to year-end. The 10X will surpass the 6X as the largest purpose-built business jet, with the widest cabin of its ultra-long-range aircraft competitors.
The two new models will likely improve Dassault’s market share in the next few years. This year, Dassault had 41 orders in the first half, up from 25 last year. With a growing backlog, Dassault is confident about the future as it competes at the top of the market.