Boeing’s loyal customer, Japan Airlines turns to Airbus A350

Airline intends to reduce its 777 fleet while expanding the presence of the European widebody in the coming years

Japan Airlines is one of Boeing’s most loyal customers, especially in widebodies. The Japanese carrier was the largest operator of the 747 in history and has just reached 50 787 Dreamliner aircraft in its fleet.

However, JAL would have decided to upgrade the Airbus A350 to its future flagship aircraft, according to Flight Global.

To make the strategy viable, the company is in the process of retiring its Boeing 777s, currently the main long-haul aircraft.

From a fleet of 39 units a year ago, Boeing’s twin-engine today has only 20 planes, 13 of them with the long-range 777-300ER variant.

Japan Airlines has already announced the withdrawal from service of 24 Boeing 777s in the -200 and -300 series, which were used on domestic flights. In addition, it has displaced some 777-200ER to fill that gap.

Japan Airlines Boeing 777-300ER (Melv_L – MACASR)

Only 13 Boeing 777-300ER will remain in service in 2023, the airline said in its business update. At the same time, the A350-900 fleet is expected to reach 18 aircraft – currently there are only eight units.

In fact, the Airbus A350 is currently the aircraft for international flights that offers the highest passenger capacity at JAL, with 369 seats in three classes of service. The 777-300ER used on long-haul routes offers only 244 seats.

Japan Airlines received its first A350-900 in June 2019 from an order that includes 18 units of the smallest version and 13 A350-1000, of greater passenger capacity.

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