Japan Airlines first Boeing 737 MAX to arrive in 2026

Japan Airlines and Boeing finalized an agreement for 21 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft
Suparat Chairatprasert / Shutterstock.com

Japan Airlines ordered 21 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, renewing its short-haul fleet. 

The deal, which had been previously rumored, included negotiations between the Japanese company and both Airbus and Boeing, with the airline weighing up the Airbus A320neo and Boeing 737 MAX for its future short-haul fleet. However, with Japan Airlines already operating 43 Boeing 737-800 NextGeneration (NG) aircraft, the airline chose not to switch to the European manufacturer’s narrow-body product. 

Its joint venture with Qantas, called Jetstar Japan, has 19 Airbus A320 and three A321neo in its fleet, per ch-aviation.com data. 

Japan Airlines will receive its first Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in 2026, with the aircraft type “reducing both fuel use and carbon emissions by 15% compared to the airplanes the airline is replacing,” according to Boeing’s news announcement on March 23, 2023. 

“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,” stated Yuji Akasaka, the President of Japan Airlines. Akasaka added that the company is looking to move closer to its goal to become carbon-neutral by 2050, achieved by “a combination of these super-efficient aircraft, operational innovations and new fuel-saving technologies”. 

Apart from the 737-800, Japan Airlines has 16 Airbus A350-900, 26 Boeing 767-300ER, three 777-200ER, 12 777-300ER, 23 787-8, and 22 787-9 aircraft in its fleet, according to ch-aviation.com data. Furthermore, per the website’s data, it has outstanding orders for 15 jets, namely two A350-900 and 13 A350-1000s. 

Throughout 2022, Japan Airlines only took delivery of two aircraft, a pair of A350-900s. 

Stan Deal, the President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA) said that the Japanese carrier’s commitment to purchase the 737 MAX marks “the latest milestone in our longstanding relationship”. 

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