Sun rises on $1.6 billion airline deal

Japan Airlines has placed an order to purchase eight Boeing 777-200ERs and three 767-300ERs. The value of the new aircraft at list prices is estimated at $1.6 billion and deliveries are scheduled between 2002 and 2004.

The 777s and two of the three 767s will be direct replacements for JAL’s fleet of 10 MD-11s. The third 767-300ER will, according to a statement from Boeing, allow JAL to better accommodate the new second runway at Narita Airport, which is scheduled to open during the summer of 2002.

According to Japan Airlines, replacing the MD-11s with the new 777s and 767s will improve JAL Group cash flow by approximately $100 million annually.

Japan Airlines currently operates an all-Boeing fleet that includes 10 777’s and 25 767 twinjets. In addition, the carrier is a launch customer for the new Longer-Range 777 models.

Japan Airlines expects that the operating costs of the 777-200ER will be comparable to the MD-11s, while providing greater range and seat capacity. The 767-300ER will provide lower operating costs than the MD-11s and will be used on the airline’s medium and short-range international routes.

The new order will allow JAL to reduce its number of models in service from seven to six, providing improved efficiency in purchasing spare parts, planning maintenance activities and providing ground support equipment.

This fleet consolidation is anticipated to afford Japan Airlines greater flexibility in flight-crew scheduling while increasing the airline’s effectiveness in route planning and addressing changes in demand.

The 777s will be used on a variety of routes, including Trans-Pacific routes in accordance with increased Extended-range Twin-engine Operations (ETOPS) approved earlier this year by the US Federal Aviation Administration and Japan Civil Aeronautics Bureau.