Officials announce a $60 million expansion of the Dassault Falcon Jet facility in Little Rock. (Photo: Dustin Wilson, THV 11)
Officials announced a $60 million expansion of the Dassault Falcon Jet facility in Little Rock. (Photo: Dustin Wilson, THV 11)
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Dassault Falcon Jet says it plans to invest $60 million as it increases the size of its Little Rock facility.
In a press statement released Wednesday morning, the company said it plans to increase the size of its completion center to accommodate future Falcons. Over the next three years, Dassault will invest the money in new construction and the refurbishment of existing facilities.
"Little Rock has been a major part of our company identity over the last 38 years and today is the company's largest industrial facility," said Eric Trappier, Chairman & CEO of Dassault Aviation. "It has become our worldwide center of excellence for primary completion activities and pioneered the use of digital design in cabin completion. The new investment will not only increase capacity but enhance the overall quality and efficiency of the products we provide to our customers."
Site preparation will begin in early 2014 and construction will take place through the early part of 2016. The result will be an increase of 250,000 square feet dedicated to production and completion activities. The project will also include refurbishment of the cabinet, upholstery and headliner shops along with upgrades to older hangars. The expansion will bring the total facility footprint to 1.25 million square feet.
The new completion facility will include advanced tools and processes that shorten completion time and increase quality and accuracy. In 2010, Dassault Falcon Jet received approval from the FAA for the use of 3D data during the completion process, making it the first OEM to have approval for both 3D type design and completion. In addition to enhancing quality, this allows the opportunity for the customer to visualize the final configuration of the aircraft.
"It's a recommitment to the presence of Dassault for all time going forward in Little Rock, Arkansas and that in of itself is worth a celebration," said Arkansas Governor, Mike Beebe.
In 1975, 'Falcon Jet Corp.' - then a Dassault Aviation/Pan Am joint venture - purchased Little Rock Airmotive, a 61,500 square foot hangar and office facility, and integrated it into its global production line. FedEx founder, Fred Smith, originally used Little Rock Airmotive as a completion center for the fleet of Falcon 20 transports that he used to launch his overnight delivery service in the early seventies. When Falcon Jet Corp. was looking for a completion facility, they discovered a group of workers already familiar with the Falcon product line. Making Little Rock even more attractive was its pool of highly skilled artisans in cabinetry, carpentry, leather goods, upholstery and a range of other related technical activities.
In 2008, Dassault completed a previous 116,000 square feet foot expansion at Little Rock with the addition of a new four bay paint hangar. That $20 million expansion grew the facility to a total of 897,000 square feet and also included a new production and design area, more warehouse space and a new flight line.
In 2012, Dassault delivered 66 Falcon aircraft, and expects that number to increase in the coming years.
(Source: Dassault Falcon Jet)