Fri, Mar 28, 2014 - Page 15 News List

All Nippon Airways orders 40 Boeing, 30 Airbus planes

AFP, TOKYO

All Nippon Airways (ANA) yesterday said it would buy 70 new planes worth US$16.4 billion, with almost half from Airbus SAS in a move that marked a victory for the European aircraft maker as it tries to prise open the lucrative Japanese market.

The airline will buy 40 aircraft from Boeing Co, its major supplier, and one that has had a virtual stranglehold in Japan for decades, and 30 from Airbus to expand its fleet ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, a statement said.

The order includes 14 of Boeing’s troubled Dreamliner as well as 20 units of the 777-9X and six 777-300ERs.

The company will also buy seven Airbus A320neo and 23 Airbus A321neo.

The aircraft will be delivered between 2016 and 2027, and will increase the size of the ANA fleet to 250 aircraft.

The new Boeing aircraft will serve mainly international routes, while the Airbus planes will operate both overseas and domestic trips, ANA said.

“ANA Group’s introduction of these new aircraft will help it respond to the needs of the increasing number of passengers expected to arrive in Japan in the run-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and will support the Japanese government’s plans to boost the annual total of foreign visitors to Japan to 20 million,” the firm said.

The orders, collectively the biggest in ANA’s history, came as the airline aims to expand its international presence.

ANA Holdings president and CEO Shinichiro Ito said the choices of aircraft were made based on the products’ quality, not by brand.

While the order will give Airbus a morale boost in a market dominated by Boeing, Ito hinted the US manufacturer’s 777 model was simply a better plane than the equivalent produced by its European rival.

“We considered the large size 777-9X while also studying the A350. We studied the quality and economic feasibility as well as when they can be delivered, when we can own them,” Ito told a press conference.

“Also we studied which model would be the most compatible to what we already have. As a result, we decided to choose the B777,” he said.

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