Wed, 23 Jun 2021

PARIS, France: Dassault Aviation launched Falcon 10X last week, a new long-range "flying penthouse."

Viewed as its most powerful model, it has plans to enter service in late 2025 to challenge rivals catering to the wealthy and heads of state at the top end of the luxury jet market.

With a range of 7,500 nautical miles (13,890 km), it will compete with high-end models offered by Canada's Bombardier and General Dynamics Gulfstream unit.

In a first for a commercial jet, it will come equipped with Rolls-Royce Pearl engines designed to run entirely on sustainable aviation fuel, Dassault said.

It is also the first time the British engine maker has been chosen to power a jet from Dassault, which had fallen out with France's Safran over a previous engine project.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic and volatility in demand for smaller business jets, the market for the industry's largest models has been boosted by the rising wealth of Asia, among whom health remains a top concern, followed by security and privacy.

"All the executives of the companies, the VIPs, they want to travel in a very safe way. They want to save time. And business aviation is really the answer," Dassault Aviation Chief Executive Eric Trappier said during a webcast.

Referring to Dassault's gamble, Chief Executive Eric Martel said, "We set the bar," adding, he felt "very comfortable" after hearing about the 10X. Bombardier's best-selling 19-seat Global 7500 goes for about the same price: $75 million in today's dollars.

In a market in which rulers and billionaires are frequently switching to the latest jet models, Dassault's last luxury jet was the Falcon 7X in 2007.

Analysts said the 10X's party-sized cabin and marathon travel range would set up a closer three-way race against Bombardier's Global series and Gulfstream's upcoming G700.

"They've thrown down the gauntlet," Vincent said of Dassault's largest-ever model.

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