Japan Airlines has taken delivery of its first Airbus A350 on Thursday.
Airbus managed to break into Japan’s commercial aviation market in 2013, which was long dominated by the its main rival, Boeing.
This is the first time JAL is buying planes from Airbus. But it operated A300s acquired through the airline’s 2002 merger with Japan Air System. JAL retired all A300s in 2011.
Airbus struck a $9.5 billion deal with JAL to sell 31 A350s comprising 18 A350-900s and 13 A350-1000s, after a lengthy campaign to convince JAL officials who were unfamiliar with Airbus aircraft, including their distinctive side-stick controls.
The A350-1000s will replace JAL’s 13 777-300ERs.
The airplane with 3 cabin classes of First Class, Business Class and Economy will be deployed on Japan’s busy domestic routes.
The first aircraft will enter service on the airline’s Haneda – Fukuoka route at the start of September.