Airbus wins first order from Japan Air in blow to Boeing

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An Airbus SAS A350, produced by a unit of European Aeronautic, Defence & Space Co. (EADS), prepares to land following its first flight in Toulouse, France. Photo: Bloomberg

Airbus SAS is poised to announce its first order from Japan Airlines Co. (9201), a person familiar with the plan said, securing a commitment in a market where rival Boeing Co. (BA) has enjoyed near monopoly for decades.

The order may be made public soon, the official said, declining to be identified as discussions are private. Airbus CEO Fabrice Bregier and Japan Air President Yoshiharu Ueki will meet the press in Tokyo today, the airline said in an e-mailed statement. It didn't elaborate.

The deal gives Airbus a break into Japan's market where the fleets of Japan Air and ANA Holdings Inc. (9202) are dominated by Boeing aircraft. Japan Air choosing an Airbus plane over Boeing comes after the Chicago-based aircraft maker's 787 Dreamliner was delayed by more than three years and grounded globally earlier this year after battery issues.

Airbus was negotiating with ANA and JAL to sell its A350-1000, three people familiar with the talks told Bloomberg News in May. Japan Air may place an order by September to replace some of its older Boeing 777s, said two of the people.

Reuters earlier today reported the Japan Air deal with Airbus, citing people familiar with the planned announcement.

ANA, Japan's largest airline, said last month it's pitting the new jets of Toulouse, France-based Airbus and the U.S. planemaker against each other, and will make a decision on an order soon.

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