SEATTLE—Japan Airlines Corp. (JAL) has selected Boeing's 7E7 as its next generation midsized twin aisle aircraft. JAL has agreed to 30 firm deliveries and 20 options, with deliveries beginning in 2008. The jets, which are still in development, will replace JAL's Boeing 767s and Airbus A300-600s. The deal represents a much needed boost for Boeing, which is in direct competition with the new Airbus A350.

"The 7E7 will be the key airplane on a variety of domestic and international routes and will provide outstanding flexibility in our route planning," says Takenori Matsumoto, senior managing director of Japan Airlines Corp.

Other airlines with orders for the new plane include All Nippon Airways (ANA), Air New Zealand, Blue Panorama, Continental, First Choice and Primaris Airlines. Orders for the 7E7 now total 112 airplanes, with 56 under firm contract.

The 7E7 series includes three airplanes seating 200 to 300 passengers with ranges from 3,500 to 8,500 nautical miles. Boeing predicts the airplane will use 20 percent less fuel and provide operators with up to 45 percent more cargo revenue capacity. Production of the 7E7 will begin in 2006. First flight is expected in 2007 with certification, delivery and entry into service in 2008.