Friday, March 28, 2014

ANA selects Boeing 777-9X and Airbus A321neo.

On March 27th, ANA Holdings, parent of All Nippon Airways (NH/ANA), announced that they have decided to place an order for 70 aircraft with Airbus and Boeing covering five types, including the Boeing 777-9X and Airbus A321neo. Total value exceeds 1,700 billion JPY at list prices, and this will be the largest order in ANA history both in terms of value and number of aircraft.
The Boeing 777-9X, 787-9, Airbus A321neo, and A320neo in ANA livery. (Image: ANA)

For widebody aircraft, ANA will buy 20 B777-9Xs to replace B777-300ERs starting in fiscal year 2021. Until their delivery, as an interim measure, an additional six B777-300ERs will be acquired for delivery between fiscal years 2018 and 2019, which would bring the B777-300ER fleet to 28. A top-up order of 14 B787-9s are also being placed, making ANA the biggest Dreamliner operator with 80 ordered (36 B787-8s and 44 B787-9s). So this means all B777-300ERs will be replaced by B777-9Xs, and all other current-generation widebodies (B777-200/200ER/300 and B767-300/300ER) will be replaced by B787s.

For narrowbody aircraft, 30 Airbus A320neo family aircraft are being acquired. Comprised of 23 A321neo and seven A320neo, deliveries are to begin with the latter in fiscal year 2016 and the former in fiscal year 2017. The new Airbus narrowbodies will replace ANA's remaining current-generation A320s and B737-500s. ANA briefly operated a total of seven A321-100s between 1998 and 2008 (originally as a B767-200 replacement), so this would be a comeback of the type.

First of all, the folks at Seattle must be relieved. Japan Airlines' (JL/JAL) order for 31 Airbus A350 XWBs last year shocked all (and probably Boeing the most), so this brings some 'competition balance'. Boeing must have provided a hefty discount to win this order, since reports one year ago told ANA was also leaning towards the Airbus product, with officials calling the B777-9X "too capable and too expensive". For the Dreamliners, ANA will probably switch to or order some B787-10s at some point, since the B787-9 is too small to replace the domestic 514-seat B777-300s and Tokyo/Haneda (HND/RJTT) is expected to remain a slot-restricted airport for the foreseeable future.

And for the narrowbodies, at least two questions arise; ANA already has 15 Mitsubishi MRJ90s on order intended as replacements for their B737-500s, but numerous delays have pushed back service entry of the type to mid-2017 at earliest, so I guess ANA had to come up with Plan B. But then what will ANA use the MRJs for? Leaving room for further delays, they may end up replacing older Bombardier DHC-8-400Qs. Secondly, why just 'seven' A320neo? ANA already operates a sizable fleet of B737-800s with more on order, so why not more of that or the B737max? Rumor has it that these seven are intended for 100%-subsidiary LCC Vanilla Air (JW/VNL).

Except for the B777-9Xs, the majority of this order will be delivered by 2020, when Tokyo hosts the Olympics/Paralympics and Japan targets 20 million annual visitors from overseas.

Source: ANA Holdings, March 27th. (in Japanese)

*Post edited/updated on March 30th.

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