Oct. 7 - Airbus has secured its first jet order from Japan Airlines, breaking open the last major aviation market dominated by rival Boeing. As Hayley Platt reports it comes after delays and the grounding of its 787 Dreamliner cast a shadow over Boeing's reliability as a supplier.
A landmark deal for Airbus - it's clinched an order for 31 jets from Japan Airlines. The deal for A350s is worth $9 billion. But, more importantly, it's the first time JAL has chosen Airbus over its rival Boeing. The airline's shares rose more than 3 percent after the announcement by its President Yoshiharu Ueki. (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) JAPAN AIRLINES PRESIDENT, YOSHIHARU UEKI, SAYING: "By buying the A350 we hope to continue our safe operations while also looking to become number one in terms of customer satisfaction. We will also look to use this in order to build a financial base that allows us to respond to outside changes." Boeing has enjoyed 80 percent of the Japanese aviation market for some years. But delays to its 787 Dreamliner caused by minor technical issues has raised doubts about its reliability as a supplier. It's thought that helped open the door to Airbus. Fabrice Bregier is Airbus's CEO. (SOUNDBITE) (English) AIRBUS PRESIDENT AND CEO, FABRICE BREGIER, SAYING: "This is also Airbus' largest order for the A350 so far this year. And this is the largest order we have ever received from a Japanese customer, underlining our strategic partnership moving forward." The agreement includes options for a further 25 A350s and is likely to leave Boeing doing a little soul searching A third of the 787 Dreamliner is built in Japan and the country is their biggest market. But Boeing's rival to the A350 hasn't even been launched yet. JAL would have had to have been the 777X's launch customer. That honour may now go to Japan's other main airline ANA which is looking to buy 25 new jets to replace some if its older Boeings. The industry will be watching closely to see if it too favours Airbus.