Airbus Secures Orders for 65 Jets from Two Key Asian Customers, Traditionally Aligned with Boeing

Airbus secured orders for 65 jets from two significant Asian clients, marking a triumph for the European aviation giant amid ongoing safety concerns surrounding its American counterpart, Boeing, particularly after a recent incident involving a 737 MAX 9 jet.

Japan Airlines (JAL) announced plans to acquire 21 widebody A350-900 and 11 A321neo narrowbody jets from Airbus. This decision signifies a departure from its longstanding partnership with Boeing, as it ventures into acquiring smaller single-aisle jets from Airbus for the first time.

This move strengthens Airbus’s presence in Boeing-dominated territories, following its initial breakthrough in securing an order for A350 widebody jets over a decade ago. JAL’s commitment to purchase Airbus aircraft is further underscored by its concurrent order for 10 Boeing 787 Dreamliner jets.

Airbus Secures Orders for 65 Jets from Two Key Asian Customers, Traditionally Aligned with Boeing
Japan Airlines orders more planes due to global shortage, expecting deliveries between 2025 and 2033.

Meanwhile, Korean Air, South Korea’s largest carrier, revealed its intention to procure 33 A350s in a substantial $13.7 billion deal. This represents Korean Air’s inaugural acquisition of the Airbus A350 family, coinciding with its strategic preparations for an impending merger with Asiana Airlines.

Boeing and Airbus refrain from disclosing current list prices for their aircraft.

Airbus has been steadily growing its single-aisle market share with its A321neo, amidst the backdrop of Boeing 737 MAX crises, including two fatal incidents in 2018 and 2019.

Following the Jan. 5 panel incident on an Alaska Airlines flight, Boeing faces scrutiny over its safety and quality standards, leading regulators to limit its production.

The limited Boeing orders were not solely influenced by the manufacturer’s challenges, according to a source familiar with JAL’s order. However, concerns about potential delays stemming from these issues prompted JAL to mitigate risks by diversifying its aircraft sources.

Typically, negotiating deals for plane orders is a process spanning several months.

Boeing critic Richard Aboulafia noted that Airbus gained ground in Japan since 2013, particularly with the A350 order, which provided an opening for the European manufacturer to expand its presence.

Despite Boeing’s previous successes with these airlines and their continued operation of a mixed fleet, Vertical Research Partners analyst Rob Stallard emphasized the growing influence of Airbus.

Robust Demand

The latest entrants in the tightening market for efficient, long-haul aircraft are the two Asian carriers, as international travel approaches full recovery following a prolonged dip in demand for the industry’s larger jets.

Airbus Secures Orders for 65 Jets from Two Key Asian Customers, Traditionally Aligned with Boeing
Korean Air plans long-term fleet renewal, focusing on sustainability and retiring older aircraft.

“It shows that the strong demand for new widebody jets, particularly from Asian and Middle Eastern carriers, has continued from 2023 into this year,” Stallard added. “Just like the narrowbodies, the (planemakers) now have no issue with demand – the challenge is supply.”

JAL disclosed that deliveries for its orders were anticipated between the financial years 2025 and 2033, with a total catalog price of approximately $12.4 billion.

An additional A350-900 will be acquired by JAL to replace one lost in a runway collision at Haneda airport in January.

JAL cited the ongoing global shortage of new planes as the reason for its decision to procure more efficient, new-generation aircraft for both its full-service and low-cost carrier operations.

Korean Air, with its mixed fleet of Boeing and Airbus wide- and narrow-body aircraft, stated that its order was aimed at long-term fleet planning, considering the retirement of older aircraft and fulfilling sustainability objectives.

Airbus asserts that the A350s consume 25% less fuel compared to similar older-generation planes. Due to robust demand, JAL raised its group net profit forecast to 90 billion yen ($596 million) for the current financial year ending this month, up from 80 billion, surpassing analyst projections.

($1=150.9600 yen)

Sajda Parveen
Sajda Parveen
Sajda Praveen is a market expert. She has over 6 years of experience in the field and she shares her expertise with readers. You can reach out to her at [email protected]
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