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Airbus Reaches Milestone Deal With Japan Airlines

Source: Airbus.

On Monday, Airbus unveiled a deal to sell jetliners with list prices totaling $9.5 billion to Japan Airlines. With big orders, airlines usually don't end up paying list prices, but this deal is sparking interest more for who's involved (and not involved) than for the price.

The order calls for 31 long-haul Airbus A350 jetliners and gives Japan Airlines the option to buy an additional 25. This is a big win for Airbus over Boeing (NYSE: BA  ) because it marks a shift in a decades-long relationship between Boeing and Japan Airlines. 

Airbus CEO Fabrice Bregier said in the company's press release, "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."

Japan Airlines' decision comes after the carrier was forced to ground its Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet because of battery problems. Nevertheless, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal, Japan Airlines President Yoshiharu Ueki said the issues with Boeing's Dreamliner did not affect the company's decision to choose Airbus jetliners for its latest order.

Japan's largest airline operator, All Nippon, is also now deciding between the Airbus A350 and Boeing's yet-to-launch 777X jets for its next-generation planes, according to The Wall Street Journal. All Nippon was also one of Boeing's customers whose 787 planes were grounded earlier this year. 

The deal announced today with Japan Airlines brings Airbus' total A350 orders to more than 750 from 38 customers worldwide. Airbus plans to begin delivering the new jetliners by 2019, over a six-year period.

In a statement to The Associated Press, Boeing said it was disappointed with Japan Airlines' choice of Airbus, but "we have built a strong relationship with Japan Airlines over the last 50 years and we look to continue our partnership going forward."

-- Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.


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