Airbus wins large aircraft orders in Asia

Airbus sold more than 60 aircraft to two airlines, Japan and South Korea, in the context of rival Boeing reeling from a series of incidents.

On March 21, Japanese airline Japan Airlines (JAL) said it would buy 21 wide-body A350-900 aircraft and 11 narrow-body A321neo aircraft from Airbus . This is the first time Airbus has sold narrow-body aircraft to JAL - a long-time customer of Boeing .

The order from Japan's second largest airline will allow Airbus to increase its presence here. However, JAL also said it would buy 10 Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

Korea's largest airline Korean Air yesterday also announced an order for 33 A350s, worth a total of 13.7 billion USD. This is the first time they have purchased this type of aircraft.

Airbus aircraft in Saint-Nazaire (France) November 2023. Photo: Reuters

JAL said it is ordering more new generation fuel-efficient aircraft, in the context of a prolonged global aircraft shortage. Korean Air explained that this order serves long-term plans, when the old aircraft fleet is difficult to meet sustainable development goals.

"This shows that demand for narrow-body aircraft is still strong, especially from Asian and Middle Eastern airlines. This trend has lasted from 2023 until now," commented Rob Stallard - analyst at Vertical Research Partners. review.

Airbus is increasing its narrow-body aircraft market share in the context of rival Boeing reeling from the crisis of the 737 MAX line. This aircraft line had two accidents in 2018 and 2019. After the Alaska Airlines plane opened its door on January 5, Boeing is facing many investigations into quality and safety management. Their production activities are also limited by authorities.

Reuters quoted sources as saying that Boeing receiving few orders is not entirely due to the company's troubles. However, airlines cannot ignore the risk of late delivery. Therefore, they want to diversify by not depending on any one manufacturer.

Aviation analyst Richard Aboulafia said Boeing's incident gave Airbus the opportunity to return to Japan. However, Stallard also revealed that Boeing had previously won orders with JAL and Korean Air.

Boeing said it currently has a 65% market share in Northeast Asia. "We appreciate that Japan Airlines still believes in the 787 Dreamliner - the most popular wide-body passenger aircraft in aviation history," Boeing wrote in a statement.

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