Business aviation is a growing industry and Indonesia is the fastest-growing market in Southeast Asia. French aviation manufacturer Dassault Aviation is hoping to provide business owners and top executives in the country with a top-line business jet with the introduction of its new Falcon 8X. By Shoeb Kagda
Indonesia’s growing economy and the fact that the region itself is today regarded as a major global economic engine has ramifications for many industries, including business aviation.
As the global economic gravity shifts east from the Atlantic to the Pacific, Indonesian business groups will be well-positioned to grow not just within their own domestic borders but also to tap opportunities that will emerge in other economies. And with economic growth, business aviation will also take off.
This is the potential that Dassault Aviation is hoping to tap in the coming years. The French aircraft manufacturer views Indonesia as a major market for its business jets, the Falcon series. “Dassault is now building up its presence in Indonesia, which is one of the leading markets in the world for business jets,” said Jean Michael Jacob, president of Dassault Aviation Falcon Asia Pacific.
The country, he added, has both geo-strategic importance as well as economic heft. “Jakarta could be at the crossroads of global trade and business in the future. China, Japan, Australia and the Middle East are all within flying distance.”
Even within Indonesia, Jacob noted, there is a huge market for business aviation as flying is the most efficient way to travel in the country. And contrary to public perception, private jets are a critical business tool rather than an expensive luxury.
Currently, 52 business jets are registered in Indonesia or owned by Indonesians, up 16% from a year ago, according to data compiled by Dassault. Singapore, in comparison, has 64 jets registered but growth has been stagnant.
The new Falcon 8X will feature some advanced technologies, the longest cabin of any Falcon and the largest selection of cabin configurations of any large business jet, including an optional shower capability.
The 8X, which is a major upgrade from the popular Falcon 7X, will be able to connect cities such as Jakarta and Singapore to most destinations in Europe non-stop. For the busy business owner and executive, that is an immense advantage if she or he has to get to an important meeting on time, stress-free and fully prepared.
“It’s a business tool because one can work on the aircraft, even conduct meetings if necessary,” said Jacob. “You can work and rest while being connected with your office throughout the journey.”
Dassault unveiled the new Falcon 8X at the recent Indonesian Business and Charter Aviation Summit. Jacob sees Indonesia as a good market for the Falcon 8X because although there are already a large number of small- and medium-sized business aircraft serving the market, many owners and operators are keen to upgrade to a larger cabin and longer-range jets.
Jacob admitted that Dassault has largely ignored Asia as a market as it was too focused on North America until now. The company, however, is fast gaining ground on its rivals.
“Dassault only discovered Asia recently because we were too caught up in North America where we have the largest factory,” he said. “We arrived late in China but in the past six years we have already sold 50 aircraft.”
Indonesia, he hopes, will also grow to be a significant market for the Falcon. “China is a key country in Asia in terms of maintaining stability over the next 10 years,” Jacob noted. “But Indonesia will also be a significant player in the region and we will invest in Indonesia.”