UPDATED: Dassault to Hire 200, Add 116,000 SF to Little Rock Center

by John Henry  on Tuesday, Jun. 12, 2007 10:18 am  

Dassault Falcon Jet will further expand its business-jet completion center in Little Rock, adding 116,000 SF to accommodate a growing demand for jets.

Dassault Falcon Jet will further expand its business-jet completion center in Little Rock, spending $20 million to add 116,000 SF to accommodate a growing demand for jets, said Christian Sasso, senior vice president and general manager of the Dassault facility, at a news conference Tuesday.
Dassault will hire more than 200 Little Rock employees over the next two years to meet the increased production demand. The new jobs will pay an average of $20 an hour, Gov. Mike Beebe said.
Dassault is the largest manufacturing employer in central Arkansas with about 2,000 employees. Sasso said the plant's 2006 payroll was $163 million, which he expects to increase to $200 million by the end of the year.
Last year, Dassault announced that a $1.1 billion deal to sell 24 of its Falcon 7X jets would be completed in Little Rock.
“Good relationships with existing businesses create good jobs in Arkansas," Beebe said in a news release. "Little Rock’s history of working cooperatively with Dassault Falcon has led to a world-class facility here that continues to grow and provide opportunities for Arkansans."
Beebe emphasized that in economic development, the state cannot forget the companies and workers that are already here.
Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola said aviation is the state’s No. 1 manufacturing export and is the future of the state and city.
The additional production space will include a four-bay paint facility, a warehouse and storage expansion, new engineering facilities and 20,000 SF addition to the flight-test line. After completion, the Little Rock Completion Center will measure 827,000 SF.
Beebe said the state and the city combined would contribute about $175,000 in infrastructure incentives to help the expansion.
The Little Rock operation is Dassault’s main completion center for all Falcon aircraft and the largest Dassault facility worldwide. More than 1,000 Falcons have been completed in Little Rock. Planes are flown from the factory at Bordeaux, France to Little Rock without exterior paint or cabin fittings.
Dassault made 50 customer deliveries in 2006 and the company expects to grow rapidly in the future as demand for the new Falcon 7X picks up. The company already has 165 firm orders for the new jet, making it the most successful launch of a business jet ever in terms of sales dollar value.
Dassault Falcon Jet Corp. is a subsidiary of Paris-based Dassault Aviation.



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