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CORRECTED: Skymark inks deal to buy 6 Airbus A380 superjumbo jets.

TOULOUSE, France, Feb. 17 Kyodo

Skymark Airlines Inc., a Japanese budget airline, signed a deal Thursday with Airbus S.A.S. to buy six Airbus A380 superjumbo jetliners, two of them provisional, marking the first such move by a Japanese carrier.

Skymark, which has so far run domestic flights, said it plans to launch regular international flights and fly double-decker A380 jetliners between Narita airport near Tokyo and London from November 2014 and between Narita and Frankfurt afterward.

''We have won a degree of praise for our domestic service,'' company President Shinichi Nishikubo said before the deal-signing at the Airbus head office in Toulouse, southern France. ''We will aim to gain trust with our scheduled flights on international routes in the future.''

The budget carrier also aims to serve either New York or Paris from 2017, Nishikubo said.

The A380 is the world's largest passenger aircraft with 525 seats in a standard seat arrangement that made its maiden flight in 2005. Eighteen carriers centering on those based in Asia, the Middle East and Europe had placed orders for about 240 A380s as of January.

The state-of-the-art aircraft was hobbled by a serious accident to a Qantas A380 while in flight last November, forcing it to make an emergency landing after experiencing engine trouble. That prompted a directive from aviation authorities to examine A380 jetliners fitted with a certain type of engine.
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Publication:Japan Transportation Scan
Date:Feb 21, 2011
Words:231
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