PARIS (Reuters) – Dassault Aviation on Thursday launched a new long-haul “flying penthouse” in a bid to challenge rivals serving the ultra-rich and heads of state in the high-end luxury jet market.
The Falcon 10X will be the most powerful model of the French aircraft manufacturer, with a range of 7,500 nautical miles (13,890 km), and will compete with the high-end models offered by the Canadian Bombardier and the unit of General Dynamics Gulfstream .
It will enter service at the end of 2025 and – in a first for a commercial aircraft – will be equipped with Rolls-Royce Pearl engines designed to run entirely on sustainable aviation fuel, Dassault said.
It is also the first time that Rolls-Royce has been chosen to power a Dassault aircraft, which had fallen out with Frenchman Safran because of an earlier engine development problem.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic and chronic volatility in demand for small business jets, the market for the industry’s largest models has been propelled by the growing wealth of Asia.
Health is at the top of the concerns of the targeted elite, alongside security and privacy.
“All company executives, VIPs, want to travel very safely. They want to save time. And business aviation is really the answer, ”Eric Trappier, CEO of Dassault Aviation, said in a webcast.
“Vaccines should be the solution to mitigate the effects of such a virus. But we need to know that we will have to live with viruses for a long time, whether they are COVID-19 or otherwise. So it is also good to have a business jet to fly safely. “
Dassault’s bet drew a swift retaliation from rival Bombardier, whose best-selling 19-seat Global 7500 sells for the same price: $ 75 million in today’s dollars.
“We’re going to have even more backlogs (of orders) and more planes in service,” said Managing Director Eric Martel.