Airbus lands $9.5B JAL deal

In what some are hailing as a “landmark order,” Airbus said Monday that Japan Airlines has agreed to buy 31 airplanes, a blow to Airbus rival Boeing.

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

This is JAL’s first order for Airbus aircraft, said Airbus, which has two key research and supply agreements with the National Composite Center in Kettering. Ohio has more Airbus suppliers than any other state, the company has said. The company spends some $5 billion with Buckeye State suppliers annually.

Airbus said it and JAL aim for entry into service from 2019, with the airline’s A350 XWBs gradually replacing JAL’s aging fleet over six years.

Media reports put the value of the order at about $9.5 billion.

“Japan Airlines is well known as one of the most preferred airlines in the world providing its passengers with an excellent flight experience,” Fabrice Bregier, president and chief executive of Airbus, said in a statement. “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. 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.”

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