Japan Airlines (JAL) has signed a purchase agreement for up to 56 Airbus long-range aircraft, marking the national carrier’s first ever deal with the European planemaker.
The Tokyo-based airline has placed a firm order for 18 A350-900s and 13 A350-1000s, plus options for a further 25 aircraft. This continues the company’s long-haul fleet expansion and renewal plan, adding to existing orders for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
The new A350s will enter service from 2019, and will gradually replacing JAL’s older twin-aisle aircraft six year period, including its B767s.
“We will utilise the A350 XWB (extra wide-body) to maximum, which offers high-level of operational efficiency and product competitiveness, while positively catering to new business opportunities after slots at airports in Tokyo are increased,” said JAL’s president, Yoshiharu Ueki. “In addition to improving profitability with advanced aircraft, we always aim to deliver unparalleled services to customers with the latest cabin and steady expansion of our route network.”
The A350-900 seats more than 300 passengers in a typical three-class layout, while the larger A35-1000 will carry about 50 more. The firm order of 31 aircraft is worth more than US$9 billion at current list prices.
The new aircraft add to JAL’s order for up to 65 Boeing 787 Dreamliners, 11 of which have already been delivered.
The A350 made its first test flight this summer and is expected to enter service in the second half of 2014. With this latest deal, Airbus has now taken more than 750 firm orders for the A350 from 38 customers.