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And Many More (Editorial)

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This issue of Arkansas Business, heavy with articles on the aviation industry, has been scheduled for this week since we finalized the 2014 editorial calendar late last year. At that time, we knew — because it had been announced in May 2013 — that Dassault Falcon Jet would be making a major expansion of its Little Rock aircraft completion facility. But we couldn’t have known that the long-anticipated groundbreaking would actually take place just days before this issue went to press.

Our reporting staff is good, but not that good. Or prescient.

But the event did take place last Tuesday, and it was good news all around. Dassault has been a treasured member of Arkansas’ manufacturing community since 1975, when it purchased Little Rock Airmotive, the 61,500-SF hangar where young Fred Smith converted a fleet of Falcon 20 aircraft to cargo transports and launched what became FedEx.

It might be fun to compare those Falcons to the 5x twin jets that were introduced last fall and the ultra-long-range Falcon 8x tri-jet that went on the market in May. Those are the aircraft to which the new $60 million hangar will be dedicated when it opens in late 2015 or early 2016.

Dassault’s long association with Arkansas was among the things Gov. Mike Beebe and his entourage bragged about during their recent trip to the Farnborough International Airshow near London. And that trip, we are led to hope, could result in more European investment in our state before long. (You can read more about that in Senior Editor George Waldon’s story here.)

As exciting as new industrial recruits can be, they are like a new love interest when compared with a long and happy marriage. And that’s how we think of Dassault and Arkansas — a mutually supportive relationship that has lasted almost four decades and keeps on giving.

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