Airbus poised to win Japan Airlines order in blow to Boeing
The order, to be announced Monday, is for A350s in an important aviation market Boeing has almost monopolized for decades.
Airbus is poised to announce its first order from Japan Airlines, a person familiar with the plan said, securing a commitment for A350s in a market Boeing has almost monopolized for decades.
The order is to be announced Monday, the official said, declining to be identified as discussions are private. Airbus CEO Fabrice Bregier and Japan Air President Yoshiharu Ueki will meet the media in Tokyo, the airline said in an emailed statement. It didn’t elaborate.
The deal gives Airbus a break into Japan’s market where the fleets of ANA Holdings and Japan Air, the country’s two biggest carriers, are dominated by Boeing aircraft.
Japan Air’s choosing Airbus’ A350 comes after the 787 Dreamliner was delayed by more than three years and grounded globally earlier this year after battery issues.
“This is the blue-chip order Airbus was hoping for,” Will Horton, an analyst at CAPA Centre for Aviation in Hong Kong, said in an email. “The order certainly opens the door for follow-up orders at Japan Airlines.
“If ANA orders Boeing, it will have to stress why the Boeing deal was better; the market will now be sensitive to who you order from.”
ANA, Japan’s largest airline, said last month it’s pitting the new jets of Toulouse, France-based Airbus and the U.S. plane-maker against each other, and will make a decision on an order soon.
Airbus’ A350 had its maiden flight earlier this year, and the first variant is set to enter service by in 2014, with the largest model slated for late 2017. The plane-maker has said the A350-1000 will offer 25 percent better operating economics than Boeing’s 777-300ER.
“It’s a landmark deal if (Airbus sales chief John) Leahy pulls it off as Japan is one of the least-penetrated markets for Airbus, mostly due to politics than airline economics,” Shukor Yusof, a Singapore-based analyst at Standard & Poor’s said in an email. “It’s a significant blow to Boeing and the 787 and reinforces our view that the A350 will be a game changer. I expect ANA will be tempted to get the A350s and possibly even A380s.”
Airbus has been gaining market share in Japan recently as low-cost carriers lease its planes. Both Peach Aviation and Jetstar Japan use Airbus planes.