JAL <9201.T> says no new talks with Airbus on A380 /RPT
TOKYO, April 9 (Reuters) - Japan Airlines Co Ltd (JAL) <9201.T> said on Monday it was not in negotiations with European aircraft maker Airbus Industrie 1/8ARBU.UL 3/8 about purchasing its A380 superjumbo.
The denial came after the Financial Times reported, without citing sources, that they had renewed talks over the A380, a superjumbo designed to end the monopoly in large passenger aircraft enjoyed by Boeing Co , the world's biggest civilian plane manufacturer.
The FT said senior Airbus executives believed the group had been handed a golden opportunity to break into the JAL fleet by U.S. rival Boeing Co's decision to shelve development of its large aircraft, the 747X.
"We are in no specific talks with Airbus to buy the A380. The purchase will likely be one option in and after the 2004 business year (beginning in April 2004)," a JAL spokesman said.
Airbus currently supplies other aircraft to All Nippon Airways Co Ltd (ANA) <9202.T> and Japan Air System Co Ltd (JAS) <9203.Q>.
"JAL and ANA are members of the study group for the A380, and we brief them on information about it all the time," a spokesman for Airbus said. "But we are not in concrete talks with JAL."
Airbus had said in late March it aimed to boost its market share in Japan to 50 percent from 18 percent by stepping up its marketing efforts. Airbus has about 50 percent of the global aircraft market, but has struggled in Japan, where airlines have strong ties with Boeing.
In March, JAL announced a mid-term business plan under which it would improve fleet operational efficiency by reducing the number of aircraft types.
It also said in November that it would buy 10 Boeing aircraft.
Airbus, owned by European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co NV and Britain's BAE Systems Plc , has said it expects to land around 100 orders for the A380 before the end of the year, with more than 60 already in the order book.
Shares in JAL closed down 1.04 percent at 475 yen, outperforming a four percent fall in the bellwether Nikkei stock average.
Copyright 2001 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.
"There is no victory at bargain basement prices."