Ayşe Akalın: It is seen an increase in the use of business jets during coronavirus pandemic. What is your assessment on Business jet market in Turkey so far. How do you assess Dassault Falcon position in Turkey in terms of sales and deliveries?
Alişan Soylu: The coronavirus pandemic is unprecedented and is very different to earlier crises affecting the global aviation industry. During the global financial crisis of 2008/09, we saw some large corporates selling their business jets and encouraging their top executives to fly commercially. We have not seen that happen in this crisis. In fact, we have seen the opposite. Companies that own a business jet are holding onto their aircraft and are telling their top executives to use the business jet when they fly. The pandemic has led to heightened concerns about health and safety. Many people no longer feel comfortable flying on commercial airlines, so if they have the choice to fly on a business jet – where they are travelling in a more controlled environment and come in contact with fewer people – they will choose the business jet.
Commercial airlines have also scaled back their flights and network, so in many instances it is no longer possible to fly to certain destinations or on certain routes, unless you are flying on a business jet.
The situation in Turkey is no different than in the United States and in Europe where we are experiencing an increase in enquiries and sales since the second half of 2021. Part of these enquiries are from new customers who have never owned a business jet before.
Ayşe Akalın: Linked to the successive waves of the Covid epidemic, the anticipated year-end 2022 target for the entry into service of the Falcon 6X aircraft is shifting and is now forecast for mid-year 2023. Could you enlighten us about the sales of 6X and delivery process?
Alişan Soylu: Interest in the Falcon 6X is reflected in our growing order book. Total Falcon orders were 51 last year versus 15 in 2020, an especially tough year because of Covid. We don’t break out orders by model, however. Our first 6X production aircraft, which has a full interior, has just successfully achieved a world proving tour to ensure system maturity and reliability at entry into service. Two 6X aircraft are already receiving interiors at our Little Rock, Arkansas completion center. They’ll be delivered mid 2023. CAE is installing a Falcon 6X simulator at Burgess Hill in the UK and it will be producing a first class of pilots next year. We’ll have maintenance technicians trained then, as well. Spare parts are flowing to our worldwide service network to support entry into service. The airplane is performing very well in certification tests. Every pilot has given it high marks for handling. It has the most advanced version of Dassault’s digital flight control system, first introduced on the company’s civil side in 2005 with the Falcon 7X.
Ayşe Akalın: Dassault Aviation launched Falcon 10X, featuring “Industry’s Largest Cabin and Most Advanced Technology on a Business Jet”. Can you inform us about Falcon 10X and its technological competence? When will it enter service?
Alişan Soylu: Entry into service is planned for late 2025. The plane’s development is well advanced. Detailed design is almost entirely complete. Structures, parts, systems, avionics and engines are all in production. Final assembly begins next year. Avionics have been installed on two test benches to give pilots a chance to refine the system and flight controls. The aircraft’s super-efficient Rolls Royce Pearl 10X engine has been run for over 1,000 hours in a test cell, including on 100 percent sustainable aviation fuel. Both the engine and full aircraft will be certified to fly on 100 percent SAF.
The aircraft will be innovative in many respects, with an all-composite wing for low weight, efficiency and a smooth ride. New advanced safety features within the flight control system include a Smart Throttle for simplifying power management and an all-touch screen flight deck. It will represent a new level of technology and capability at entry into service.
Ayşe Akalın: Lately in EBACE, Dassault Introduces the Falcon Privacy Suite - A New Concept for Personal Space on Long-distance Flights. Could you please inform us about the new privacy suite?
Alişan Soylu: Our in-house Falcon Design Studio and Dassault Engineering have been collaborating on the Falcon Privacy Suite for two years. It is not easy to certify new seating and this was particularly complex, as it introduced an electrically controlled lie-flat seat for the first time within business aviation. As the name suggests, the seat is housed within a privacy enclosure. Most spaces on a business jet are shared, so privacy is at a premium. This is particularly the case when passengers want to get a good sleep. The Falcon Privacy Suite provides a new option for personal space, privacy, comfort throughout long flights and the ability to sleep on a lie-flat bed.
Ayşe Akalın: Recently, Bombardier unveiled Global 8000 called as "the world’s fastest and longest-range purpose-built business jet." The business jets market is highly competitive with the presence of several major players Bombardier, Textron, Gulfstream, Embraer, and Dassault Aviation. How do you evaluate the situation and position of Dassault in this competitive market?
Alişan Soylu: The 10X has a range of 7,500 nm, which connects almost all major business routes nonstop. To use the full range capability of the aircraft entails 15-hour flights. Such long duration missions pose new challenges for all manufacturers, which is one reason Dassault has included advanced flight control and flight deck technology (much of it derived from the latest fighter design) to reduce workload and enhance safety, while also improving crew rest.
Even on shorter missions, passengers’ highest wish is for comfort and personal space. The 10X cabin has 15 percent more cabin volume and that is a big difference, allowing layouts that are more like a flying penthouse than a typical business jet interior. Top speed is Mach .925, making this the fastest Falcon ever. Maximum operational speed difference will hardly be noticeable among competitors. In any case, it is a fair guess that drag rise and fuel consumption beyond about Mach .92 will be significant.
In addition, the 10X retains traditional Falcon features such as slats and flaps for low approach speed, providing the ability to fly long distances efficiently and then land at a wider range of airports, not just traditional big-city airports with long runways. Another traditional Falcon feature is a high maximum landing weight, which allows a combination of short and long legs without refuelling, which is quite useful in the real world of business aviation. The essential point is that aircraft utility is a combination of many factors, all of which purchasers will want to consider when considering an aircraft in this class.
Ayşe Akalın: With new major development in Kuala Lumpur and Dubai and new line service bases in several additional European cities, Dassault Aviation is leveraging recently acquired MRO capabilities to reorganize and consolidate its worldwide support network and bring Falcon expertise around the world AMAC Aerospace is the Turkey as a Falcon Authorized Service Center in Turkey. What is your assessment on Dassault MRO vision and activities?
Alişan Soylu: The goal of this organization, which has about doubled in size in the last few years, is to have one uniformly high standard of service close to customers wherever their aircraft are based and wherever they fly. Major inspection capability is closer, as are GoTeams, ready to dispatch in the event of an aircraft-on-ground (AOG) situation. Parts are closer at hand through this network of about 60 factory and authorized facilities worldwide. Long established facilities are able to share their expertise with newer ones. Customers appreciate this uniformity of service and standards, plus rapid response capability. It has helped keep Dassault at the top of independent industry surveys in recent years.
Ayşe Akalın: It is known that Dassault is cooperating with the many wsuppliers for the most advanced and capable aircraft in business aviation. Dou you consider that Turkish suppliers can take place in Dassault’s supply chain?
Alişan Soylu: With the experience of the last couple of years, which has challenged the supply chains of all manufacturers, Dassault looks everywhere for technical quality, robust production capabilities, the flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances, and to work in close collaboration with Dassault