TOKYO – Japan Airlines (JAL) is to sign a major aircraft order with Airbus, a report said on Monday, challenging Boeing's dominance in the Japanese market as it struggles with its troubled Dreamliner.
JAL said it would hold a press conference in Tokyo at 3:00pm (0600 GMT) with Airbus chief Fabrice Bregier and JAL head Yoshiharu Ueki, but declined to comment on details of the announcement.
Dow Jones Newswires, quoting two people familiar with the matter, said the firms would announce a new order. It did not specify the number of planes involved or a price tag.
An earlier report by Japan's leading Nikkei business daily said JAL was eyeing as many as two dozen Airbus A350 planes worth an estimated 5.0 billion euros (US$6.8 billion).
The move would mark the first time that JAL has purchased Airbus planes, although a former domestic unit had previously ordered aircraft from the France-based carrier.
The push by the European planemaker comes as JAL and domestic rival All Nippon Airways – whose fleet is also dominated by Boeing aircraft – have been sideswiped by problems with the Dreamliner.
The fuel-efficient aircraft faced a global grounding order in January after lithium-ion batteries overheated on two different planes, with one of them catching fire while the aircraft was parked.
The Japanese carriers – the single biggest operators of the Dreamliner – have put their fleets back into service. But they are seeking compensation from US-based Boeing over a string of problems that forced the cancellation of hundreds of flights and dented their bottom line.
JAL shares rose 2.83 per cent to 5,800 yen in Monday morning Tokyo trade as the broader marker fell 1.07 per cent.AFP