Airbus forecasts strong growth in Japan

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Airbus expects its market share in Japan to double within the next seven years, following its recent win of a landmark widebody order from Japan Airlines (JAL).

In a speech in Tokyo, chief executive Fabrice Brégier said the European airframer now holds a 13% market share of the commercial fleet of aircraft operating in Japan, and that he expects the figure to hit 25% by 2020.

In the longer term, the target is to double up and hold a 50% market share, as is the situation in most markets globally, he adds.

Brégier made the speech at the Nikkei Global Management Forum in Tokyo, two weeks after selling 31 A350s to JAL with options for an additional 25 of the type. The firm order comprises 18 A350-900s and 13 of the larger -1000 variant. This is JAL's first Airbus order.

Airbus is now working to win a similar A350 order from the other main Japanese carrier All Nippon Airways (ANA), which is studying both the A350 and 777-X as replacement options for its 777 fleet.

Flightglobal's Ascend Online Fleets database shows that Boeing has an 81% share of Japan's 511 aircraft commercial jet fleet. Airbus is second with 11% followed by Bombardier and Embraer with 4% each.

The database also shows that Airbus and Boeing have 66 and 98 aircraft respectively on firm order from Japan.

The backlog for Airbus includes 47 widebodies comprising of 10 A330s and six A380s to Skymark Airlines and the 31 A350s attributed to JAL. There are also 19 A320s on order from low-cost carriers such as Peach, Jetstar Japan and Japan AirAsia. Japan AirAsia will be rebranded as Vanilla Air in December, after ANA and AirAsia dissolved their joint venture.

Boeing, meanwhile, has firm orders for 91 widebodies made up of 11 747-8Fs, 77 787s and three 777-300ER. There are also seven 737-800s on order from ANA.