Dassault Expands Markets, Sets Sales Records

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If Dassault's 2005 sales success bears any relation to the quality of last year's French wine, we'll be laying in a few cases. The airframer last week announced 2005 was its "best year ever for Falcon business jets," with a total of 123 firm orders, the first time the company sold over 100 Falcons in one year. Making the achievement all the more remarkable is that Dassault says not a single one of the transactions involves multiple sales to a fractional operator. If our math is correct, all those French bizjets accounted for 1.632 billion Euros in sales. "The year 2005 represents a high mark in the history of the Falcon program," said company Chairman and CEO Charles Edelstenne. "And demand is strong worldwide. Traditionally, about 60% of our sales have come from the U.S. This year, that percentage will be about 50%. It's not a sign of a weakening market in the U.S, but a sign of strengthening demand globally."

At the end of 2005, Dassault had a total production backlog of more than 200 aircraft. More than 60 aircraft will be delivered in 2006, comparing favorably to 51 in 2005. A similar delivery rate increase is planned for 2007. The company said its sales growth was particularly strong in Western Europe, Russia and Ukraine as well as the Middle East. Brazil and South America continued to show strength especially with the Falcon 2000EX and Falcon 7X. Last year also saw Dassault rack up several milestones, including the first flight of its Falcon 7X and Falcon 900DX variants. The 900DX achieved both EASA and FAA certification in October 2005, and deliveries began shortly afterward. The Falcon 900DX has achieved strong global demand and 15 aircraft are currently in various stages of production. And the company announced in October it was beginning work on the Falcon 2000DX, another improved version of an existing type.