Recovery of Dassault Falcon Jet Benefits Arkansas

by Luke Jones  on Monday, Dec. 9, 2013 12:00 am  

In May, Eric Tate, Falcon Jet’s vice president of human resources, also noted that the skill set of the Little Rock workforce is “second to none,” and that it would be a logistical problem if the company had to train a new completions crew at a different location.

The work that happens at Falcon Jet is the last stage in the process of building Dassault’s planes.

“Nearly all the production facilities for Dassault Aviation are in France,” Ajarrista said. “Each facility is specialized. One will do the wings; another will do the big metallic parts like wings and fuselage.”

All the parts are shipped to Dassault’s assembly center at Merignac Airport in Bordeaux, France. Some parts, like the engines and the cockpit, are purchased from third parties.

When finished in France, the plane is ferried to Little Rock for completion.

Upon arrival in Arkansas, the plane has the bare minimum needed for flying: Fuselage, engines, cockpit. The completion job involves installing everything else, from interiors to passenger seats to cosmetic details. It also includes computer systems and wiring. Once work on the plane is done in Little Rock, the plane is ready to be sent to the buyer.

About 70 completed aircraft leave the Little Rock plant each year.

Incentives Play Role

As for the three-year expansion plan, it’s underway. By 2016, the completion center will be finishing a fifth model of business jet, the 5X, which has a range of 5,200 nautical miles.

“The Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce is very pleased with the announced plans,” said Chamber CEO Jay Chesshir. “This is a project that we’ve been working on since 2008 and look forward to the additional growth of investment and jobs.”

Several other cities had been pushing for Dassault to relocate the 5X completion center, leading the city of Little Rock, the airport and the Arkansas Economic Development Commission to offer Dassault a handful of incentives to keep its new operations in town.

This included everything from giving Dassault a break on rent to building new roads and infrastructure near the facility.



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