21 March 2014

JAL CFO: “We ordered the A350 because Airbus was just «the better choice»”.

After Airbus won a tense battle against Boeing for the business of Japan's 2nd largest airline last year, the firm's chief financial officer told CNBC Airbus was just "better."

Japan Airlines announced its first jet order for Airbus in October for 31 A350 aircraft worth $9.5 billion, breaking into an aviation market which had been dominated by rival Boeing.

"We needed a successor to our largest aircraft, the 777. When we compared what both Boeing and Airbus had to offer, Airbus was better," managing executive officer of finance & accounting Norikazu Saito told CNBC. "It may have been a disappointment to Boeing, but they of course understand that business is business."

Saito told CNBC that the biggest payoff from working with Airbus would be increased economic efficiency, although there would be some complications with owning two different brands of aircraft.

"Pilots need to have different licenses; you need to have spare parts for both manufacturers. But even taking all those things into account, Airbus was the better choice," he said.

JAL faced some negative publicity earlier in the year when it temporarily grounded one of its Boeing 787 Dreamliners at Tokyo's Narita International Airport in mid-January, after white smoke was spotted outside the plane and a battery cell showed clear signs of leaking.

Saito told CNBC the incident was still under investigation. "Fortunately, compared to last year - when the batteries heated up so much that it was virtually impossible to look inside them - this time the batteries are intact. That allows us to conduct a very detailed investigation," he told CNBC.

Based on the article “Japan Airlines CFO: Airbus was just 'better'” published in CNBC

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