Japan Airlines (JAL) says it will start studying the possible acquisition of Airbus A380s and Boeing's proposed sonic cruiser after finalising plans for the replacement of ageing McDonnell Douglas DC-10s.

The carrier confirmed the first part of its DC-10 replacement plan on 20 June with an order for three more Boeing 777-200ERs. It also says orders for five to seven more 767-300ERs are likely soon, for 2002/03 delivery, to round out its DC-10 replacement plan.

JAL does not operate Airbus aircraft and says it studied but rejected the A330. The airline will "continue to study other candidate aircraft, including Airbus equipment for future fleet replacement".

It also says it is "now planning to study the A380 and the Boeing sonic cruiser as candidates for further fleet renewal".

JAL currently operates 15DC-10s, 13 of which are deployed on international routes and two on domestic routes. Five DC-10s have already been retired. The first aircraft from its latest 777 order will be delivered in 2003 and the remaining two in 2006, all General Electric GE90-94B-powered.

JAL already operates five 777-200s and five 777-300s, powered by Pratt & Whitney PW4077 and PW4090 engines. In November it ordered eight 777-200ERs and three 767-300ERs as part of a Boeing MD-11 trade-in deal, switching to GE engines for both types. Those aircraft will be delivered between 2002 and 2004.

The carrier was also a launch customer for Boeing's longer-range 777. In March last year it ordered eight 777-300ERs, which are powered exclusively by GE90-115B engines, for delivery between 2004 and 2008.

Source: Flight International