Japan Airlines wants to start replacing around 40 of its Boeing 777 aircraft from 2019, chairman Masaru Onishi said.
The airline is studying the Airbus A350-1000, as well as Boeing's proposed 787-10X and 777-9X, he told reporters.
Japan's flag carrier has been a loyal Boeing customer and is one of the few airlines in the world not to operate any Airbus aircraft. It has been looking to diversify its fleet purchases between the two leading aircraft manufacturers.
Onishi said the airline can make a decision "soon" if it can negotiate the right deal, but is not in a hurry.
The comments come after rival All Nippon Airways also hinted at a possible Airbus purchase in an interview with Reuters on the sidelines of the IATA conference in Cape Town.