TOKYO -- Japan Airlines will order as many as 20 McDonnell Douglas MD-11 passenger jets in a deal that could exceed $2 billion, the nation's largest airline announced Friday.
'Japan Airlines made the the choice after detailed studies of the (European) Airbus aircraft and the McDonnel Douglas MD-11,' the airline said in a statement.
Japan Airlines made firm orders for 10 aircraft, with options for a further 10, the company said.
The current cost per aircraft is about $110 million. If the option is exercised, the total value of the order would be about $2.2 billion, the company said.
'We are overjoyed they will buy our planes,' said Yasutoshi Masuzawa, president of McDonnell Douglas Japan.
McDonnell Douglas, based in St. Louis, won out over the Airbus produced by several European nations.
'We were especially happy to be chosen with such a competitor in the running,' said Masuzawa. 'Japan Airlines has the strictest standards in the world for selecting airplanes.'
Japan Airlines said the new MD-11 aircraft will replace its current McDonnell Douglas DC-10 fleet of 16 aircraft, which will be phased out of service.
'Between 1993 and 1998 Japan Airlines fleet plans currently call for 20 medium-capacity jet aircraft to add to the fleet,' the company said.
Japan Airlines owns and operates 65 Boeing 747s, more than any other airline.
Japan Airlines was the national airline until late 1987 when the government sold its 34 percent holding and the company was privatized.