For decades, Boeing has seen off attempts by Airbus to secure an order with
Japan Airlines, benefiting from links with Japanese suppliers and deep political
and defence ties between Japan and the United States to maintain a market share
of more than 80 percent.
The two aircraft makers are still battling for a similar order at ANA, which is also looking for around 25 new jets to replace its aging fleet of long-haul Boeing 777s from 2020.
ANA's boss, Shinichiro Ito, told Reuters last month that his airline would consider possible delivery delay risks when choosing. Delays to deliveries of Boeing's 787 Dreamliner, which is one-third built in Japan, and its subsequent grounding because of overheating batteries may have made Japan's airlines wary of being a launch customer for the 777X, giving Airbus a rare opening in Boeing's best market.
(Read more: Airbus secures commitments from two new Chinese airlines)
Industry sources said in August that the U.S. plane-maker had edged ahead in a see-saw contest with its European rival as it defends dominance in Japan. But both sides have been seen as striving to win coveted endorsements for their latest long-distance jets from JAL and ANA.
Boeing is looking for Japanese support for a proposed revamp of its best-selling 777 long-haul jet, the yet-to-be-launched 777X, while Airbus is pushing a larger version of its upcoming A350 aircraft, whose base model enters service in 2014.
Japanese suppliers including Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Kawasaki Heavy Industries, which account for one-third of the 787, are expected to join the 777X program too, although Boeing has yet to say how much work they will get.
JAL's shares rose as much as 3.4 percent in early trade to 5,830 yen, compared with a flat Tokyo benchmark Nikkei average.