Dassault booked orders for 29 Falcon business jets in the third quarter. That's down from 58 in the same period last year, and takes the total so far this year to 116 aircraft, down from the 145 orders booked in the first nine months of last year. By my maths, that means the difference in order intake was entirely in the third quarter.
Bad news? Not yet. Falcon orders booked in 2007 "set an exceptional record", Dassault points out, and "the level reached at the end of September 2008 remains very high." But looking ahead, the company cautions the "impact of the current financial crisis on fourth quarter orders cannot be accurately estimated today."
Falcon 900LX (Photo: Dassault Aviation)
What Dassault can say is that Falcon deliveries will increase significantly in the fourth quarter as it ramps up annual production from 70 aircraft in 2007 to a planned 100 in 2010. By the end of September 47 Falcons had been delivered, so the remaining three months of this year promise to be busy.
At the NBAA show early this month the company said it was already committed to the production ramp-up, having ordered the raw materials, but whether it can stick to that plan will probably depend on how it fares with fourth-quarter orders. If the vaunted "book-to-build" ratio gets too out of whack, Dassault may have to rethink those plans.