Japan Airlines confirmed market expectations and closed an order for 21 737 MAX 8 jets with Boeing. The announcement took place on Thursday in Tokyo.
The new single-aisle aircraft will be introduced starting in 2026 and will replace the current fleet of 737-800s.
“We are delighted to select the Boeing 737-8, a member of the very latest 737 MAX family, to replace our Boeing 737-800s, which make up the largest proportion of the JAL Group’s fleet,” said Yuji Akasaka, president of Japan Airlines.
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“We look forward to carrying our passengers in the utmost safety and comfort and moving closer to our 2050 carbon-neutral goals, thanks to a combination of these super-efficient aircraft, operational innovations and new fuel-saving.”
The announcement, however, did not include the MAX 10 variant, capable of carrying up to 230 passengers. According to Reuters sources, the model would be part of the agreement, but JAL preferred to order only the 737-8, the most popular version of the family.
“The integration of the new 737 MAX will provide JAL with greater efficiency across its short-haul network, as the airline continues to upgrade its world-class fleet,” said Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “Partnering with JAL to introduce 737-8s into its operations is the latest milestone in our longstanding relationship.”
Japan Airlines is a traditional Boeing customer, having a large fleet of 767, 777 and 787 jets, in addition to having been the largest operator of the passenger 747.
However, the carrier ended up choosing the A350 for its long-haul routes, opening a door for Airbus to pursue new orders.
At least for now, the mid-range fleet will remain exclusive to the US planemaker.