Airbus Soars High With Major Orders From Asian Airlines

This week has been a significant one for Airbus, the European aircraft manufacturer, as they secured substantial major orders from two giant Asian airlines: Japan Airlines (JAL) and Korean Air. While JAL did include some Boeing 787 Dreamliners in its order, Airbus appears to have taken the lion’s share of new aircraft purchases from Asian carriers this week. Let’s delve deeper into this exciting news for Airbus.

Airbus Soars High With Major Orders From Asian Airlines

Japan Airlines Prioritizes Airbus

Following a board of directors meeting, JAL announced an order for 42 new aircraft, strategically divided between the Airbus A350-900, Airbus A321neo, and Boeing 787-9. The breakdown of the order is as follows:

  • 21 Airbus A350-900s
  • 11 Airbus A321neos
  • 10 Boeing 787-9s

Airbus Soars High With Major Orders From Asian Airlines

JAL has clarified that it anticipates receiving these new aircraft deliveries to begin in 2027. There are several key takeaways from Japan Airlines’ order that highlight Airbus’ success:

  1. Introducing the A350-900 for International Routes: JAL will be deploying the Airbus A350-900 on international routes, marking a shift from its current domestic use for this aircraft type. This signifies confidence in the A350’s long-range capabilities and fuel efficiency for international travel.
  2. A Historic Narrowbody Choice: For the first time in its history, JAL is incorporating a non-Boeing narrowbody aircraft into its fleet – the Airbus A321neo. This decision suggests a strategic move towards potentially lower operating costs and a more diversified fleet.
  3. Replacing a Lost Aircraft: Notably, one of the A350-900s ordered serves as a replacement for an aircraft JAL tragically lost earlier this year due to a mid-air collision.

While JAL did acquire Boeing jets, it’s evident that Airbus emerged as the bigger winner in this announcement, securing a notable portion of the airline’s new aircraft acquisitions.

See More: Ethiopian Airlines Soars to New Heights with Landmark Boeing 777X Order

Korean Air Expands with Airbus A350s

Moving to South Korea, Korean Air announced a significant agreement with Airbus, signing a contract for 33 A350 aircraft. This multi-billion dollar deal (valued at $13.7 billion) consists of:

  • 27 Airbus A350-1000s (larger variant)
  • 6 Airbus A350-900s (smaller variant)

Airbus Soars High With Major Orders From Asian Airlines

Korean Air highlighted that these new additions aim to modernize its fleet, ensuring it remains young and fuel-efficient. The A350 represents a completely new aircraft type for Korean Air, at least until its planned merger with Asiana Airlines is finalized.

Strategic Planning for Integration with Asiana

Interestingly, Korean Air emphasizes that acquiring the A350s prepares them for seamless integration with Asiana, which already operates a fleet of 15 A350-900s. Currently, Korean Air boasts a diverse widebody passenger fleet, including:

  • Airbus A330ceo in both variants
  • Boeing 747-8
  • Multiple Boeing 777 and 787 variants
  • 10 Airbus A380s (superjumbo jets)

Airbus Soars High With Major Orders From Asian Airlines

One noteworthy aspect is that Korean Air has not placed an order for the highly anticipated Boeing 777X. This latest Airbus deal might potentially exclude the 777X from joining Korean Air’s fleet in the future.

Fleet Simplification: A Potential Future Direction?

If fleet simplification is a strategic goal for Korean Air, we could potentially see the airline eventually phasing out its A330s, A380s, 747s, and 777s, ultimately concentrating its operations on the A350 and 787 platforms. However, this is purely speculation at this point.

See More: Analyzing the LATAM Airlines Boeing 787 Flight Incident: What Went Wrong?

Looking Ahead: The Future of Asian Airline Fleets

These substantial orders from both Japan Airlines and Korean Air paint a promising picture for Airbus in the Asian aviation market. It will be intriguing to see how these developments influence the future fleet composition of both airlines. Could these orders signal the potential exclusion of the Boeing 777X from Korean Air’s future plans?

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