An artist's rendering of the future Dassault Falcon jet facility at Melbourne Orlando International Airport. (Rendering courtesy of Dassault Falcon)
Dassault Falcon Jet has revealed plans to create 400 new jobs and build a $115 million aviation maintenance facility off Apollo Boulevard at Melbourne Orlando International Airport on Florida's Space Coast.
The announcement was made Oct. 17 during the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) Convention & Exhibition in Orlando.
Florida Today later reported that the company, a subsidiary of Dassault Aviation, based in France, is expected to build on 46 previously undeveloped acres just north of Sheltair Aviation's fixed-base operation at the airport, stretching northward near Embraer's delivery center.
The jobs at the business jet facility will boast average salaries of $86,120, said Keely Leggett, an airport spokesperson.
The project had previously been labeled "Project Vista," a secretive code name assigned by the Economic Development Commission (EDC) of Florida's Space Coast and Gov. Ron DeSantis' office.
"Intended to serve customers across North and South America and beyond, the 175,000-sq.-ft. complex will accommodate all current Falcon models and will be capable of performing major maintenance and modifications on up to 18 Falcon [jets] simultaneously," the EDC of Florida's Space Coast explained in a press release.
The statement also noted, "Construction in Melbourne is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2023 and opening is set for late 2024."
In addition, the Dassault Falcon complex will include a 54,000-sq.-ft. paint shop.
Dassault Falcon's planes "are the most advanced business jets in the world — designed and built in France and completed in Little Rock, Ark.," per the company's Twitter page.
"This new factory service center will considerably grow our presence in the U.S., positioning us to keep up with demand for state-of-the-art maintenance services as the Falcon fleet grows and as new models such as the Falcon 10X and the extra widebody Falcon 6X enter service," explained Dassault Aviation Chairman and CEO Eric Trappier in the EDC news release.
Airport Receives Grant to Build Infrastructure
The Melbourne City Council unanimously approved a resolution Oct. 11 adjusting the airport budget to accept a $6.6 million Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) grant to build infrastructure for Project Vista at the Apollo Boulevard parcel.
The FDOT award will finance an environmental assessment, land-clearing, construction of an apron, utility extensions, stormwater drainage, an Apollo Boulevard median cut and security equipment, Florida Today learned.
"The city of Melbourne welcomes Dassault Aviation to our community, and we are pleased with their decision to invest over $100 million within Melbourne's aerospace industry cluster at [the airport]," Mayor Paul Alfrey said in the EDC statement.
Florida Today noted that Space Florida and CareerSource Brevard also worked behind the scenes to secure the Dassault Falcon expansion in Melbourne.
"We have made it our priority to invest in our workforce to attract the world's top companies to Florida," DeSantis said in the news release. "Today's announcement from Dassault Falcon Jet Corp. shows how these investments are paying dividends. This new facility will bring high-paying jobs to Melbourne and lead to strong economic growth throughout central Florida."
Airport Approves 30-Year Lease for Dassault Shop
The Melbourne Airport Authority unanimously approved a brief list of Project Vista votes on Sept. 28:
- A 30-year ground lease, plus two 10-year options. The base rent for the Dassault Falcon Jet shop facility is $635,554 per year, or $52,963 per month. Airport officials expect the lease agreement — which incorporates a schedule of early incentives and subsequent rate increases — to generate $14.9 million during the three-decade lease term, plus consumer-price-index increases.
- A purchase order up to $129,976 to design a new multi-tenant apron at the airport's Taxiway H and Taxiway S.
- A second purchase order up to $162,680 to realign and reconstruct Taxiway H.
"We are thrilled to welcome Dassault Falcon Jet to our world-class family of tenants here at the Melbourne Orlando International Airport," said Greg Donovan, the Melbourne airport's executive director. "We believe this is the perfect home for Dassault Aviation.
"The fact that another titan of the aerospace industry has chosen to move operations to the Space Coast is a great credit to our community and the teams who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to bring this deal to fruition," he added.
Dassault Aviation a Pioneer in Aerospace Design
Dassault Aviation is a leading aerospace company with a presence in more than 90 countries across six continents. The company designs and builds its family of Falcon business jets as well as the Rafale fighter jet. It employs a workforce of over 12,000 people and has production facilities in both France and the United States, along with a worldwide service network.
Since the rollout of the first Falcon 20 in 1963, over 2,650 Falcons have been delivered. The tri-jet and twin-engine lines offer outstanding efficiency and comfort, with ranges from 3,500 nautical miles to 7,500 nautical miles. They include the flagship Falcon 10X, the pioneering Falcon 7X and 8X, the widebody Falcon 6X, and the versatile Falcon 900LX, 2000LXS.
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