Airbus in landmark deal with Japan Airlines

Aircraft manufacturing giant Airbus has announced its first deal with Japanese carrier Japan Airlines (JAL).

JAL signed a purchase agreement for 31 A350 XWBs (18 A350-900s and 13 A350-1000s), plus options for a further 25 aircraft.

It is JAL's first ever order for Airbus aircraft and is also the first order Airbus has received from Japan for the A350 XWB.

"We will utilize the A350 XWB 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 Yoshiharu Ueki, President of Japan Airlines. "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."

"Japan Airlines is well known as one of the most preferred airlines in the world providing its passengers with an excellent flight experience. We sincerely welcome Japan Airlines as a new Airbus customer and feel honored by this first ever order from Japan for our all-new A350 XWB," said Fabrice Bregier, President and CEO of Airbus. "It fills us with pride to see a leading Japanese airline start a new chapter with us. This highlights a very bright and flourishing future for both of us, JAL and Airbus."

The A350 is designed to be more fuel-efficient and is a direct competitor to U.S. rival Boeing's 787 Dreamliner, which has been hit by safety and technical issues in recent months.

JAL and Airbus aim for entry into service from 2019, with the airline's A350 XWBs gradually replacing its ageing fleet approximately over a six year period.

Image: © Airbus

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