Do you remember a Dassault airliner called the Mercure? It was a craft built by a French aircraft manufacturer in the early 1970s. It had a strong resemblance to Boeing’s 737 model. The Mercure made news shortly after its manufacture, but not for being a top seller. In fact, the company had a lot of trouble with marketing.
been a while since we've heard anything about it so we did a little research to find out why it just disappeared. We discovered that this narrow bodies airliner has quite a history in its short run, so here are 10 things that you probably didn't know about Dassault’s Mercure.
1. This aircraft went down in history as one of France's "dumbest aviation moves."
We were shocked to find out that this particular Dassault was little more than a replication of Boeing's 737. It looked like Boeing’s successful product and featured identical engines. Most airline manufacturers have a solid reason for, building an aircraft. They have either received requests from carriers to meet an industry demand, a branch of military has requested it, or they are upgrading a current line, or replacing it to keep customers satisfied. According to critics, Dassault’s Mercure was don for no understandable reason.
2. There were a limited number built
Just 10 production models were built and sold. Its maiden flight was in 1971 and three years later it entered service with Air Inter. It is a very rare model because only twelve were ever built.
3. Nobody except Air Inter were interested
We found it very interesting that Air Inter was the only commercial airline interested in buying the Mercure. No other airline carriers showed interest and no other orders were made for the Mercure 100. It was used by Air Inter for flying short routes and it did so with efficiency.
4. Dassault had their own reasons for building it
Although others didn't understand why Dassault decided to build and manufacture this craft, they actually had a very good one. They believed that their endeavor to enter what they thought would be a demanding market for short range craft with 150 seats. It was their belief that it would be a success.
5. 1995 marked its last flight
What was remarkable about this aircraft is that although only Air Inter was flying them, they kept them in the air in steady use from 1974 through 1995. They were kept in service for just 11 years before they stopped flying.
6. Marketing strategies were attempted but failed
The Dassault's airliner didn't fail because the marketers didn’t try. They were confident in its marketability. The Mercure was their answer to their competitor Boeing's 737. They attempted to generate interest in the United States and even attempted for form partnerships with major airline manufacturers with the hope that they could leverage cooperation to manufacture it in America. They met with disappointment because it was at this point that Dassault learned that their beliefs were incorrect. The short range wasn’t marketable, and America wasn’t interested, nor were any other countries.
7. Dassault received financial assistance from France’s government.
France’s government helped with financing for a variant of the Mercure, called the 200C. When Dassault presented plans to finance their venture for the new project for manufacture, they were granted a 200-million-franc loan with a stipulation that it would be paid back from sales proceeds from sales later down the line
8. Douglas trumped the new variant
The Direction Generale de l'Aviation Civile issued a request to Dassault. In cooperation, they proposed building a variant that featured a new engine. This was the 200 series. Dassault consulted Douglas and others to build their new variant and sell it in America.
Douglas made a move during these negotiations to manufacture a variant of its DC-9 in a stretched version which created a direct competition for the 200. This was a blow that caused Dassault to end talks with Douglas.
9. Dassault’s Mercure has a historical significance
Not that many people know or remember, but the Dassault Mercure did go down in history for something very positive. This was the first commercial airliner in history to be operated completely by a female crew. We thought that this was an interesting fact that most people weren’t aware of.
10. Millions of passengers in its short duration
Although the Dassault Mercure 100 was limited to service with just one airline, for short trips and for just 11 years, it made an impressive run and generated some high statistics. A total of 44 million passengers flew on a Mercure, a total of 360,000 hours of flight were logged and this model made 440,000 total flights and didn't have as much as one accident.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker