Remote airports' revival may up biz jet sale

Remote airports' revival may up biz jet sale

Do business jet operators see an opportunity in the Union government’s Regional Connectivity Scheme to revive over 500 defunct airports across the country? It is too early, but going by the poor turnout of business jet makers at the Aero-India 2017, the optimism does not seem to be well-placed.

Showcasing its Falcon 8X and 2000 LX business jets, Dassault Aviation has been the only player visible at the airshow. Embraer, Gulfstream, Bombardier and other firms that had made a splash last time were conspicuously absent.

But, Dassault spokesman Vadim Feldzer was optimistic. “We are very bullish about the future of the business jet market here. The US has 500 airports for commercial planes but 5,000 for business aviation. There is huge potential for growth here,” he told DH.

In the last 20 years, Dassault has sold 25 jets, primarily to chartered flight operators and big corporates such as the Tatas. The French firm has captured 50% share of the market for high-end, large cabin, long-range business jets. Gulfstream and Bombardier are its only competitors in this segment.

The emergence of more wealthy Indians could widen the base of prospective customers, less inclined to look at business aircraft as elitist status symbols. But what could really drive the growth besides more airports, as Feldzer put it, is the growing network of maintenance and service centres.

The network exists because a huge market for used jets exists now. Corporates had acquired second-hand business jets to test how useful they were, and this further boosted the service and maintenance centres.

However, a big number of people who can afford to fly private business jets were reluctant to buy due to infrastructure issues.

This could change dramatically once remote airports are activated, ensuring connectivity to industries/factories hitherto inaccessible by air.
DH News Service

Feel like a king, fly like a fighter pilot
Luxurious, classy and hyper-comfortable, business jets are obviously a class apart from the regular commercial planes. Parked on the Yelahanka Airport tarmac, the Dassault Falcon 2000 LX was all of that, but its cockpit looked like a fighter plane’s!

Now, that’s what happens when a company that makes military aircraft toys around with its business jet. Like a fighter aircraft, the Falcon 2000 LX is fitted with the Falcon Eye, a head up display (HUD). A pilot looks through this to see mountains, landscape and runways in 3D, with all parameters neatly displayed.

So, even if the jet is operating in foggy, day/night extreme weather conditions, the pilot will see through them all clearly. With 6,000 flying hours, the 2000 LX pilot, Herve Laverne knew exactly how that worked, “you just have to look ahead through the HUD to get all the data, gathered through real-time GPS and four cameras.”

When the jet is about to land, the runway’s approach lights become visible. “In planes without the HUD, you have to look up and down repeatedly. With the HUD, it becomes really convenient and comfortable,” explained Laverne.

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