Skymark Airlines signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Airbus for the acquisition of four Airbus A380s.
The carrier is reportedly in the market to lease two aircraft while it would pay cash for the first two aircraft.
The purchase, if confirmed, will be a significant breakthrough for Airbus in the Japanese market. According to Flighglobal's ACAS database, Airbus has 54 active aircraft in Japan, while Boeing's total aircraft account for 374. On the widebody side, Boeing has a 92% market share with 243 aircraft. Airbus' only customer is Japan Airlines with 22 A300B4-600Rs.
Skymark was established in 1996 and currently operates 15 Boeing 737-800s. According to its fleet plans, it is adding one aircraft a month through January 2011 and would end its 2010/11 fiscal year with 18 aircraft of the type. In its 2011/12 fiscal year plans are to take five additonal aircraft while in 2012/13, Skymark will take another two. By June 2012, Skymark will have a 25 737-800 fleet.
The carrier plans to operate up to 15 A380s from Tokyo to Frankfurt, London and New York. Skymark plans to introduce six A380 aircraft between 2014 and 2017, and add nine more after 2018, according to Reuters.