Boeing has secured a surprise coup over Airbus with a major order from All Nippon Airways (ANA) for 737s.

ANA plans to order "an estimated 45" new-generation 737s to replace 25 Airbus A320s, 25 737-500s and two 737-400s. Under current plans the disposal of its A320s will leave ANA as an all-Boeing operator - just like main competitor Japan Airlines (JAL).

The announcement came as a major blow to Airbus, which was counting on a victory to help it boost its market share in Japan, which currently stands at no more than around 20%. ANA was widely expected to order A320s in the narrowbody contest in part because it already has 25 of the type. It is believed to be the first time a major A320 operator has decided to phase out the type in favour of new-generation 737s.

Airbus has in recent years significantly boosted its sales efforts in Japan and was hoping that an A320 order from ANA would be followed by orders for its ultra-large A380, which has yet to secure a sale in Japan.

Japan Air System (JAS), is the only other Airbus operator in Japan with around 35 ageing A300s, but the long-term future of that fleet is in question. JAS merged with JAL under a joint holding company late last year.

Source: Airline Business