Japan Airlines confirms $9.5bn Airbus order

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Japan Airlines has confirmed its first order for Airbus aircraft with a deal for 31 wide-body jets worth $9.5 billion.

The agreement also includes options for a further 25 aircraft.

The deal covers the purchase of 18 A350-900s and 13 A350-1000s, with the first aircraft due to enter service from 2019. The aircraft will gradually replace its ageing fleet over a six-year period.

It is the first order the European manufacturer has had from Japan for A350 EWB (extra wide-body) aircraft.

The A350-900 seats more than 300 passengers in a typical three-class configuration on routes as long as 8,100 nautical miles. The A350-1000 is the largest member of the A350 XWB Family, seating 350 passengers on flights of up to 8,400 nautical miles.

Jal president Yoshiharu Ueki 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.

"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."

Airbus president and chief executive Fabrice Brégier said: "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 first A350-900 is due into commercial service in the second half of 2014. Airbus now has more than 750 firm orders for the A350 XWB from 38 custom