Japan Airlines (JAL) has signed a purchase agreement with Airbus for the first time, approving an order for 31 A350 XWBs (18 A350-900s and 13 A350-1000s), plus options for a further 25 aircraft. 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.
Yoshiharu Ueki, President of Japan Airlines said, “We will utilise 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. 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.”
Fabrice Bregier, President and CEO of Airbus commented, “We sincerely welcome Japan Airlines as a new Airbus customer and feel honoured by this first ever order from Japan for our all-new A350 XWB. 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 order from JAL was also welcome news to UK company Rolls-Royce, as all A350 XWB models are equipped with the new Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines.
JAL has stated that the decision to turn away from US manufacturer Boeing, which has been supplying the airline’s fleet in recent decades, is not linked to the problems that have plagued Boeing’s rival offering, the 787 Dreamliner.