Mind Your Business: Carlos Brana of Dassault Aviation on the pursuit of excellence in the skies

Carlos Brana standing in front of a Dassault aircraft

In Mind Your Business, we speak with business leaders and thinkers who inspire their respective companies and industries. Here, we feature Carlos Brana, executive vice president, civil aircraft, Dassault Aviation.

Carlos Brana is a proponent of repartee—charming those around him with wit and badinage. But a shift occurs whenever he speaks of Dassault Aviation and its aircraft. It is in these moments that Brana’s passion and depth of knowledge shine through, revealing the serious and deeply committed professional who has dedicated his life to Dassault for four decades.

Starting as a design engineer in 1984, Brana—who now serves as the executive vice-president, civil aircraft—worked on the development of Dassault’s combat aircraft programmes such as Rafale and Mirage before rising to managerial roles. He shifted to the business jet division in 2005, broadening his scope to include sales, contracts and customer service. In his current role, which he took on in 2019, Brana now drives the global strategy for Falcon aircraft sales and customer service.

profile of Carlos brana in front of a Dassault Aviation aircraft
Carlos Brana, executive vice president, civil aircraft, Dassault Aviation. Photo by Dassault Aviation

How does Dassault approach aircraft design?

Simplicity is timeless. Luxury is about the simple things. We don’t do anything for luxury’s sake—we do it for elegance and efficiency. 

When we design the interiors of our aircraft, the team will have different opinions, but we always select the design that will last forever. For example, we had different solutions for the skylight in the Falcon 6x, from square-shaped designs to complicated decorations. In the end, we went for a simple, round skylight.

When you first transitioned from an engineering role to a leadership position, what were the challenges you faced?

When I transitioned from Dassault’s military to commercial sales, I found a totally different world. But at Dassault, we are never left on our own. When you first transition or join the company, somebody is there to take care of you. So little by little, I learnt from these people. 

In my leadership position, I’ve learnt that management is a rich adventure. You learn from the people you manage and they learn from you. This feeds your life and it can change how you think. But you mustn’t forget your own opinions. There is a time for discussion. And there is a time for application. 

Dassault Aviation aircraft Falcon 6x
Dassault Aviation’s Falcon 6x. Photo by Dassault Aviation

I understand that ExecuJet MRO (Maintenance, Repair, Overhaul) Services Malaysia, a subsidiary of Dassault will be opening its new Subang facility soon. How would this help Dassault and your customers?

Good customer service triggers customer loyalty. You can trigger the dream or the lifestyle with branding. But after that, they will start using the plane. So, what we want is to make sure that we are always close to our customers, to better understand their needs and to serve them better.  That is why we have bought huge service centres in Malaysia—to establish better proximity with our customers and to ease the maintenance process for them.

You’ve previously mentioned that “nothing is left to chance” in the technology that goes into Dassault’s aircraft. Could you elaborate on that?

We sell technology. In fact, we are building the Formula One and the Rolls-Royce of aeronautics. This is thanks to technology. Our comfortable cabin pressure is because of technology. The low level of noise in our aircraft is because of technology. Every part of our aircraft is because of technology. This is the nature of what we do. 

How does Dassault envision the future of luxury aviation evolving?

I cannot convey exactly what we’re thinking. But we will always provide something more—a sense of family. We are still owned by the Dassault family. This sense of family is something we need to continue, so our customers understand that whatever we do, we do it thinking about them. We’re always thinking about their comfort and safety, and we will always deliver a safe, comfortable and elegant aircraft.

Dassault Aviation

This story first appeared in the April 2024 issue. Purchase it as a print or digital copy, or consider subscribing to us here