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

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

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