Japan Airlines, Boeing nearing agreement for 20 737 MAX aircraft

Japan Airlines logo on the Airbus A350 tail
ryo-a / Shutterstock.com

Japan Airlines is reportedly close to ordering 20 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, as the Japanese airline is looking to expand and renew its narrowbody fleet of aircraft. 

The deal was first reported by Bloomberg, citing sources close to the matter. Japan Airlines had been weighing both Airbus A320neo family and Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, however, the United States (US)-based manufacturer won out. The Japanese airline is reportedly looking to order the 737 MAX-8 and MAX-10 aircraft. 

According to ch-aviation.com data, Japan Airlines has 43 Boeing 737-800 NextGeneration (NG) aircraft in its fleet, the predecessor to the MAX, and has no orders for the latest generation of Boeing’s best-selling narrowbody jet. Its only outstanding orders are for 15 Airbus A350 aircraft, split between two orders for the -900 and 13 for the -1000. 

Japan Airlines switching to the Airbus A320neo family would have been a major win for Airbus, which has delivered either the A320ceo or A320neo family aircraft to only four airlines in the country, including Jetstar Japan, a joint venture between Qantas and Japan Airlines. In total, per ch-aviation.com data, there are 128 A320ceo or A320neo aircraft operating in Japan, in comparison to 156 Boeing 737 NG/MAX across seven Japanese airlines. 

The last carrier based in the country to order the 737 MAX was Skymark Airlines, which ordered four aircraft of the type in January 2023, with options for two and six lessor-owned aircraft that are yet to be delivered. 

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