By RTT News, October 07, 2013, 04:12:00 AM EDT
(RTTNews.com) - Japan Airlines Corp. (JALSQ.PK, JALFQ.PK) Monday announced a purchase agreement from French aircraft maker Airbus SAS for 31 A350 XWBs that include 18 A350-900s and 13 A350-1000s, plus options for a further 25 aircraft. The deal is said to be worth about $9.5 billion at list prices.
The A350 aircraft is a competitor to Boeing Co.'s ( BA ) 787 Dreamliner, which recently encountered some safety and technical issues. Japan has reportedly been a market dominated by Boeing.
According to JAL, this is its first ever order for Airbus aircraft and is also the first order Airbus, owned by European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. or EADS NV (EADSF.PK, EADSY.PK), has received from Japan for the A350 XWB. Prior to the merger by Japan Airlines and Japan Air Systems or JAS, JAS had ordered Airbus aircraft.
JAL and Airbus aim for entry into service from 2019 as the airline's A350 XWBs gradually replace its aging fleet over a six year period.
Yoshiharu Ueki, President of Japan Airlines, said, "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."
Ueki noted that the airline aims to deliver unparalleled services to customers with the latest cabin and steady expansion of its route network.
The first A350 XWB had its maiden flight in June. It is said to be the world's most efficient large twin-engined commercial aircraft. The plane is equipped with Rolls-Royce Trent XWB turbofans.
In a three-class layout, the A350-900 seats over 300 passengers on routes as long as 8,100 nautical miles. The A350-1000 is the largest member of the A350 XWB Family and seats 350 passengers up to 8,400 nautical miles. All A350 XWB models are equipped with the new Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines.
According to the companies, over 70 percent of the A350 XWB's weight-efficient airframe is made from advanced materials combining composites, titanium and advanced aluminium alloys. The A350 XWB also brings together latest in aerodynamics, design and advanced technologies. It provides significant improvement in fuel efficiency compared to competing models.
The A350 XWB MSN1 has so far completed around 300 flight test hours out of the campaign's total 2,500 hours that are to be achieved by five flight test A350's over the next 12 months. Entry into commercial service of the A350-900 is scheduled for the second half of 2014.
With this latest commitment, Airbus has recorded over 750 firm orders for the A350 XWB from 38 customers globally.
Fabrice Bregier, President and CEO of Airbus, said, "...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."
JAL closed up over 3 percent in Tokyo on Monday at 5,810 yen.
EADS is up 0.9 percent in early morning trading in Paris at 49.67 euros.
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