Japanese authorities have issued type certification for the Airbus A350 XWB, opening doors for Japan Airlines (JAL) to receive first deliveries of the airliner later in 2019.

The type certification was issued by Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transportation, and Tourism (MLITT) and covers the aircraft powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines, Airbus announced on April 11, 2019.

While about a third of all A350XWB orders (a total of 890 as of March 31, 2019) come from Asia Pacific, the only Japanese airline planning to introduce the airliner to its fleet is Japan Airlines (JAL). The airline placed 18 A350-900s and 13 A350-1000s firm order with Airbus in 2013.

JAL is now expecting the first deliveries “in the middle of 2019”, according to Airbus, which also adds that JAL’s A350 XWB fleet will enter service on major domestic routes starting with its Haneda - Fukuoka route from September.

A350XWB are due to replace older widebody aircraft within the Japanese carrier fleet - a position currently strongly occupied by Boeing aircraft. JAL operates an all-Boeing fleet of 167 aircraft, 117 of which are widebodies: Dreamliners, 777s and 767s.