June 2, 2013 / 4:43 PM / 4 years ago

ANA chief says A350 'good candidate' to replace Boeing 777s

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The main body section of the first Airbus A350 is seen on the final assembly line in Toulouse, southwestern France, October 23,2012.Jean-Philippe Arles

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - Japan's All Nippon Airways (9202.T) considers the Airbus EAD.PA A350 a "good candidate" to replace some Boeing 777s, its chief executive said on Sunday, in a sign that the airline could place its first order for Airbus big jets.

"The A350-1000 can be a good candidate for us," Osamu Shinobe told Reuters on the sidelines of an airlines conference.

"It is realistic to consider this as a replacement for the 777. In the near future, when we look at the replacement candidates, this can be a very good and strong candidate."

Japanese airlines have long been considered a fortress for Airbus's U.S. rival Boeing.

Japan Airlines (9201.T) is also considered a candidate to buy the Airbus EAD.PA A350-1000.

Boeing is offering a revamped version of its best-selling wide-body jet, the 777, but so far ANA is not "aggressively" looking at the so-called 777-9X upgraded model, Shinobe said.

Reporting by Siva Govindasamy, Editing by Tim Hepher

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