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Japan Airlines places its first ever order on Airbus

by BA Staff

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. This is JAL’s first ever order for Airbus aircraft. (Japan Air System used purchase Airbus aircraft prior to its merger with JAL).

Video of Fabrice Bregier, President and CEO of Airbus, below the fold

Computer generated images of JAL’s A350-900 and larger A350-1000

This is also the first order Airbus has received from Japan for the A350 XWB (eXtra Wide Body). JAL and Airbus aim for entry into service from 2019, with the airline’s A350 XWBs gradually replacing its ageing fleet approximately 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,” “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.”

Fabrice Bregier, President and CEO of Airbus said

“Japan Airlines is well known as one of the most preferred airlines in the world providing its passengers with an excellent flight experience. 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.”

The configuration of JAL’s A350s have not been disclosed. In a typical three-class layout the A350-900 comfortably seats more than 300 passengers on routes as long as 8,100 nautical miles (nm). The A350-1000 is the largest member of the A350 XWB Family, seating 350 passengers on even longer missions up to 8,400 nm. All A350 XWB models are equipped with the new Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines.

The A350 is Airbus’ new weight-efficient airframe of which over 70% is made from advanced materials combining composites (53 percent), titanium and advanced aluminium alloys.

To date, the A350 XWB MSN1 has completed around 300 flight test hours out of the campaign’s total 2,500 hours which 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 more than 750 firm orders for the A350 XWB from 38 customers worldwide.

Airbus has fostered strong industrial connections in the region, with Japanese companies such as Bridgestone, Panasonic, Yokogawa Electric and Minebea contributing to all of Airbus’ current production aircraft. In addition, Toray and Toho Tenax signed a long-term agreement in 2010 to supply carbon fibre for the company’s jetliners.

Japanese partnerships with Airbus range from 17 companies for the double-deck A380, to 12 each for the A320 and A330 families, as well as four for the A350 XWB.

Airbus also benefits from research and technology cooperation in Japan, including: composite research in partnership with the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA); and Japan’s Research and Development Institute for Metal and Composites for Future Industries (RIMCOF) – in developing structural health monitoring technology.

About Devesh Agarwal

A electronics and automotive product management, marketing and branding expert, he was awarded a silver medal at the Lockheed Martin innovation competition 2010. He is ranked 6th on Mashable's list of aviation pros on Twitter and in addition to Bangalore Aviation, he has contributed to leading publications like Aviation Week, Conde Nast Traveller India, The Economic Times, and The Mint (a Wall Street Journal content partner). He remains a frequent flier and shares the good, the bad, and the ugly about the Indian aviation industry without fear or favour.
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