Japan's flagship carrier Japan Airlines on Monday (October 7) said that it would order more than 30 A350 jets from Airbus worth $9.5 billion at list prices, weakening Boeing's grip on a strategic market.
The agreement includes options for another 25 of the A350s, bringing the potential size to 56 aircraft.
For decades, U.S. planemaker Boeing has seen off attempts by Airbus to secure an order with JAL, benefiting from links with Japanese suppliers and deep political ties between Tokyo and Washington to maintain a market share of more than 80 percent.
Japan's flagship carrier will buy the Airbus A350 wide-body aircraft following an intense battle between the planemakers as Japan's two top carriers seek dozens of new long-haul jets over the next decade.
Delays to its 787 Dreamliner and its subsequent grounding after its batteries overheated have, however, tarnished its image and cast doubt on Boeing's ability to deliver aircraft on time, industry experts said.
Airbus President and CEO Fabrice Bregier said JAL's order was the biggest so far for 2013.
"This is also the 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," he said.
JAL's shares rose as much as 3.4 percent in early trade to 5,830 yen, compared with a flat Tokyo benchmark Nikkei average. Market sources attributed the rise to the carrier digging in its heels with a call on Friday (October 4) for the government to revise its allocation of landing slots at Haneda Airport.
The battle between the two aircraft makers will now shift to ANA, which is also looking for around 25 new jets to replace its ageing fleet of long-haul Boeing 777s from 2020.
Presented by Adam Justice