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Airbus Signs Japanese Supply Contracts

European plane maker continues push into Asian air market...

Airbus reached a $650 million agreement with four Japanese companies to supply parts for its A380 super-jumbo as the second biggest plane manufacturer tries to break arch rival Boeing's stranglehold on Asia's biggest travel market.

Sumitomo Metal Industries, Japan's fourth largest steelmaker, will provide titanium sheet for the A380 and other jets. The other suppliers for the twenty year agreement are Jamco Corp., Toho Tenax and Toray Industries.

Airbus is allying with Japanese companies in part to help it sell aircraft to Asia's two biggest airlines, Japan Airlines, which exclusively uses Boeing jets, and All Nippon Airways. It said it is discussing more supply accords with other Japanese companies.

?We are in talks with five major aircraft parts manufacturers and we expect an agreement in the very near future,? said Airbus's Japan spokesman Takahiro Nosaka.