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May 26, 2024
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A350-900_1000_RR_JAL_In news that will reverberate in Chicago and Seattle today, Japan Airlines (JAL) 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. We anticipated this order months ago.

The possibility that JAL could order Airbus at all, much less 56 of them, was almost impossible to comprehend even two years ago.  There can be little doubt that the selection of the A350 is driven in part by the 787 experience at JAL.  Had JAL been totally satisfied with the 787, it would have stayed with this aircraft and added the -10.  The A350 selection is therefore highly significant.

JAL has been a reliable Boeing customer for fifty years.  Fabrice Bregier, President and CEO of Airbus said “Achieving this breakthrough order and entering a traditional competitor market, was one of my personal goals and I am very proud to be leading the team who has accomplished this great success”.  Champagne will be flowing in Toulouse today.

While Airbus is celebrating this order, there may be even more reason to be pleased later on. Boeing will react to the ANA order. The forthcoming order by ANA is now much more important for Boeing.  If ANA also selects the A350, and we expect Airbus to be at its most aggressive, then there are bound to be repercussions.  These repercussions will be felt among those Japanese firms who are Boeing suppliers.  For them, no matter what, without a Boeing order business could start to tail off.  Japanese firms produce 35% of the 787.

3 thoughts on “JAL orders A350

  1. You can bet A has already been making plans to shift production of 350 items to Japan, perhaps even to open the new assembly line Leahy has been shouting for. Japan is one of only three places in the world where this could be done (others Europe and US). You can also bet JAL got the deal of a lifetime.

    I think the real reason for B’s loss to JAL, and ANA’s almost certain order for 350s, is not all of the 787 delays etc., but B’s truly arrogant and inadequate design of the battery/electrical system. When the crap hit the fan, B tried to suggest that the problem was in part with the Japanese battery manufacturer, which may have been true. But the system was B’s design and they stuck with the uncontained battery installation far longer than was sensible because they had known for years about the fire on board 787 over Laredo, Texas and the fire at the lithium battery plant the burned the place down. Shortly after the problems in Boston, the new chairman of JAL said that safety was most important and that it was unnatural for JAL to relay on only one wide body OEM. B was forced to apologize to the Japanese, which in their country is a really big thing, involving true admission of error and contrition. That may have been a very tough thing for B to swallow.

    The fall out from B’s botch of the electrical system is, I think, only beginning.

  2. First the two fires are unrelated. That just ranting and the first one has not affected ops. The second one did.

    JAL may well want to diversify and only the future will tell how they feel about Airbus.
    They may very well be unhappy when they find out how the European culture operates.

    It is still a huge deal both impact and the numbers ordered as its a major commitment (good thing 777s will still be available because there will be A350 issues and delays)

    That should shift the 777 wing to Seattle so that’s a plus.

    And in a blow to Airbus, Lufthansa cancelled (three?) A380s. Thats equaly big news and a blow to Airbus.

  3. Some deny that the 787 problems has anything to do with the Airbus order. A three year delay, the many teething issues must have had some bearing on this switching of manufacturers. Airbus wanted this so bad, the price must have been a once in a lifetime offer. Boeing needs to get their house in order, from poor planning on delivery dates, to replacing the inept management team that dropped the ball big time.

    The three year delay on the 787 EIS meant more orders for the A330 as it was the only other comparable airliner being offered and with a short delivery time. Boeing blew it big time. I hope the 777X and the 787-9 and 787-10 will not be a repeat performance of the 787-8.

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