European planemaker Airbus is celebrating getting its toe in the door of the last major market dominated by arch-rival Boeing, Japan.
The sale of 31 wide-body Airbus A350s to JAL, with an option on another 25, ends Boeing’s monopoly in the wide-body market after decades of effort.
“The world is changing. There is open competition everywhere. For us, as a manufacturer, and for Japan Airlines. They need the best aircraft. And I think, for me, this is now the natural trend everywhere in the world. An airline has to select the best product for its future,” says Airbus’s boss Fabrice Bregie.
Boeing seems to have paid a heavy price for failing to deliver its revolutionary Dreamliner planes on time to both JAL and its domestic competitor ANA. JAL has broken ranks first, not counting on Boeing being able to hit its delivery targets. Both will need to buy dozens of new aircraft in the coming years.
In all the first part of the JAL deal is worth almost seven billion euros, and it may also spell trouble for Japan’s aerospace industry, a major subcontractor of Boeing’s.