Drawing a parallel with France’s policy, a top executive of Dassault Falcon Jet Corp on Thursday lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s make-in-India initiative.
Calling the initiative ‘very good’, Thierry de Poncins, international sales director, Falcon Business jet, told FE, “The concept is very good for the Indian economy. In France, the same system is followed. They use a lot of sub-contractors around the world, including India. New contracts are happening in India too.”
Poncins added, “Dassault System in India produces software for the jets. Products are from around the world assembled in France, and we produce 90 aircraft a year.” However, the volume of business jets in India is not high enough to produce here yet, he added.
India has a fleet of 22 Falcons and more orders are expected.
“The new government is business-oriented, so economy will grow; hence, large corporations that were waiting will now acquire business jets to commute,” he said. According to him, Indian businesses are smart and have already booked a few planes, which would be delivered soon.
On plans of setting up service centres, Poncins said: “There are two approved service centres in Mumbai, Taj Air-Tatas and Airworks. There are plans to get approval for a centre in Delhi to support the fleet of Falcon.”
Some of the Indian customers of the Falcon business jet include GMR, Taj Air, Club One Air and Reliance.
Dassault Aviation is present at Aero India, India’s largest air show for both military and civil aircraft, with its Falcon fleet of large-cabin, long-range business jets. It has on display the 5,950 nm/11,000-km range Falcon 7X trijet, the fastest-selling Falcon of all time, and the 4,000 nm/7,700 km Falcon 2000LXS, a short-field derivative of the popular Falcon 2000.
Dassault is a leader in the large-cabin, long-range aircraft segment in the Indian market, with 22 aircraft currently in service. Most new orders are for longer range Falcon models like the Falcon 7X and the new flagship Falcon 8X, which are capable of flying nonstop to London City Airport from anywhere in India, a company executive said.
The Falcon 7X, with its large cabin and advanced systems largely derived from military aircraft, is particularly prized by Indian customers. Its ultra quiet roomy interior, available with a shower option, allows passengers to disembark fresh and relaxed after a 13-hour flight. Last year, the aircraft completed trials that will permit it to operate out of the highest commercial airports in the world. More than 250 7Xs have left the assembly line since the model was certified in 2007.
The new 6,450 nm/12,000 km Falcon 8X, which was rolled out last December, and the all-new 5,200 nm/9,630 km Falcon 5X, introduced in 2013, are also receiving a a lot of interest in the Indian market.
The Falcon 2000LXS, certified in 2013, is also expected to prove popular with Indian customers. The LXS offers a short-field capability comparable to smaller mid-size and super mid-size business models, but with a range and comfort level far better than these aircraft. Fifteen units of the Falcon 2000 series are already in service with large Indian corporate operators in Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Bangalore.