SINGAPORE, July 31 (Reuters) - All Nippon Airways said on Thursday that it has finalised a $13 billion order for 40 Boeing wide body jets as part of the Japanese carrier’s efforts to further modernise and expand its fleet.
The deal for 20 Boeing 777-9X, 14 Boeing 787-9 and six Boeing 777-300ER aircraft was originally announced as a commitment in March. The jets would replace ANA’s older 777 planes, which the airline operates primarily on long-haul services to Europe and the United States.
“These new aircraft will give us maximum flexibility and improved fuel efficiency, and will allow us to meet the growth in demand, both internationally and in our domestic Japanese market,” Shinichiro Ito, president and CEO of ANA Holdings, said in a statement.
ANA’s commitment to Boeing wide body aircraft was significant as rival Japan Airlines in October last year ordered 31 Airbus A350 wide body aircraft worth $9.5 billion at list prices.
That was JAL’s first order for Airbus aircraft, and the European aircraft manufacturer was hoping to lure ANA away from Boeing in a country where airlines have traditionally leaned towards the U.S. planemaker, especially in the wide body market.
ANA in March also ordered 30 Airbus jets in a deal worth $3.49 billion, though the order was for single-aisle A320neo and A321neo aircraft for its short-haul fleet.
While ANA officials have consistently said their main concern was to get the best aircraft for their requirements, their airline’s decision was also closely monitored as a barometer of U.S.-Japan trade and political relations.
Japanese companies like Mitsubishi Heavy Industries , Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Fuji Heavy Industries are important suppliers to Boeing, especially for its 787 Dreamliner programme.
Some industry sources had suggested that their workshare for the 777x programme could have decreased if ANA had gone for Airbus jets instead.
In June, however, Boeing said Japanese companies would build 21 percent in the 777x - on par with their share of the work in the current model of the 777.
This includes the fuselage sections, bulkheads, landing gear and centre wing sections.
Boeing has 300 orders and commitments from six customers for the 777X, which is due to enter into service around the end of the decade.
This includes Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific, Germany’s Lufthansa and Gulf carriers Emirates , Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways. Others like Singapore Airlines are also considering the aircraft. (Reporting by Siva Govindasamy; Editing by Ryan Woo)