updated 2/4/2005 8:06:25 AM ET 2005-02-04T13:06:25

Japan Airlines is ordering 30 jets from Boeing Co. in a contract worth about $1.8 billion, the companies said Friday.

The order for the 737NG, which stands for “next generation,” follows an order by Japan Airlines in December for 30 of Boeing’s new wide body jets called the 787, formerly dubbed the 7E7.

Chicago-based Boeing applies the “next generation” tag to its 700, 800 and 900 versions of the 737, and Japan Airlines did not specify which mix of those models it will select.

The 737NG, an improved version of the older 737 series, are longer versions that seat about 180 people and are billed as requiring low operational costs.

Friday’s order includes an option to buy 10 more in the spring. JAL plans to begin the 737 flights next year.

JAL said it was placing the orders for domestic flights ahead of an expansion at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport.

The fuel-efficient Boeing 787 is due to go into service in 2008.

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