Japan Airlines has announced that it is ordering 31 Airbus A350 wide-body jets in a deal that challenges U.S. aerospace company Boeing's dominance in the country.
JAL said Monday it had signed a $9.5 billion purchase agreement for the 31 long-haul planes, with an option to buy another 25 aircraft.
The deal marks the first time JAL has bought Airbus planes. The new aircraft are expected to start coming into service in 2019 as the carrier replaces its aging Boeing fleet.
Industry experts say delays in Boeing's deliveries of its new 787 Dreamliner and their grounding in January because of battery failures has cast doubt on Boeing's ability to deliver aircraft on time.
Rival Japanese carrier All Nippon Airways is also studying the feasibility of purchasing Airbus planes to replace its aging fleet of Boeing jets.