European aerospace company says airline has ordered 31 A350 XWB aircraft in a deal worth around $9.5bn at list prices
Aircraft maker Airbus has secured its first ever order from Japan Airlines for around $9.5bn (£5.9bn).
The European aerospace company said the airline had ordered 31 of its A350 XWB aircraft in a deal worth around $9.5bn at list prices. Japan Airlines has the option to buy a further 25.
It is a significant win for Airbus and the A350, which is designed to be more fuel efficient. The aircraft is a direct competitor of Boeing’s Dreamliner, which has been bit by safety and technical issues this year.
Yoshiharu Ueki, president of Japan Airlines (JAL), said the A350 fleet would allow the company to take advantage of “new business opportunities after slots at airports in Tokyo are increased”.
The new JAL Airbus fleet is scheduled to be operational from 2019, gradually replacing its ageing fleet over a six-year period.
Of the 31 aircraft ordered, 18 will be A350-900s, which typically offer three classes of seating and carry more than 300 passengers.
The remaining 13 will be A350-1000s, which seat 350 passengers on longer flights.
Fabrice Bregier, the Airbus president and chief executive, said the order marked a “new chapter” for the aircraft maker in Japan.
Airbus has now received orders for more than 750 A350s from 38 customers worldwide and it is hoped that the first of the new aircraft will be ready for commercial service in the second half of 2014.
News of the order was also welcomed by British company Rolls-Royce, which will supply its Trent engine for all 31 aircraft.
In a separate announcement Rolls said it had won two contracts, with a combined value of up to $496m, to support T56 engines on US government aircraft.
Under the six-year contract the FTSE 100 company will supply parts and field and engineering support for thousands of T56 engines, which have been in production since the 1950s.
The contract, awarded by the Defence Logistics Agency, will support around 1,000 C-130, P-3 and C-2 aircraft in service with the US Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard and Customs and Border Control as well as international fleets.
Rolls was also handed a contract worth up to $90m by the US Navy, involving engine repairs for E-2 Hawkeye aircraft, which are powered by two T56-A-427 engines.
The five-year contract is renewable annually and is valued at $17m for the first year.
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