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April 19, 2024
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As part of the usual game with media of initial denial, Japan Airlines has confirmed today that it has selected the Boeing MAX 8 for the renewal of its medium-haul fleet. The airline will buy 21 aircraft for delivery from 2026. Japan Airlines orders 21 Boeing MAX 8s.

The MAX 8s will join the JAL Group as the replacement for the 737-800. Parent airline JAL currently operates 43 of them with an average age of just over thirteen years. But subsidiary Japan Transoceanic Air (JTA) also operates thirteen -800s, although they are much younger with an average age of 5.7 years. Expect the new aircraft to join JAL only.

That Japan Airlines has secured deliveries from 2026 is the result of negotiations with Boeing already reaching a preliminary agreement last year, AirInsight has learned. This meant that Boeing reserved production slots for the JAL deal for 2026 and beyond.

The MAX will be used to strengthen the domestic and regional network as air travel recovers to pre-pandemic levels, the airline says. At the same time, they will contribute to JAL’s sustainability targets with their fifteen percent lower fuel burn and lower emissions but more range than the -800s they replace. 

In the medium-term management plan that was presented in May 2022, Japan Airlines’ fleet renewal plans were mostly around the widebody fleet. The airline will reduce the number of Boeing 777s, with all -200ERs to be placed on the domestic network and the -300ER solely used on international routes. The Airbus A350 fleet will grow, with more -900s and -1000s coming in. JAL has only two -900s left to be delivered, out of eighteen on order, but all thirteen A350-1000s are still to be delivered. The first aircraft has already been in the paint shop and should be delivered in the coming months.

JAL’s fleet plan for FY25 includes 34 777s/A350s (-7 compared to FY20), 72 Boeing 767s/787s (-6), 54 Boeing 737s (-7), 32 Embraer E1s, and nineteen ATR and De Havilland Canada turboprops (+1).  

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Active as a journalist since 1987, with a background in newspapers, magazines, and a regional news station, Richard has been covering commercial aviation on a freelance basis since late 2016.
Richard is contributing to AirInsight since December 2018. He also writes for Airliner World, Aviation News, Piloot & Vliegtuig, and Luchtvaartnieuws Magazine. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.

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