Japan's IHI Corp <7013.T>, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries <7011.T> and Kawasaki Heavy Industries <7012.T> will help develop Airbus's aircraft engines by providing their carbon fiber-related technologies, the Nikkei business daily said on Sunday.

The three firms are in talks with U.S. engine maker Pratt & Whitney and Germany's MTU Aero Engines to join a team developing engines for the A320neo, the updated version of Airbus's most popular A320 jet, the Nikkei reported without citing a source.

The three Japanese companies were not immediately available for comment.

Airbus, the world's largest plane maker, hopes to boost its sales with the A320neo, which will have engines the firm says will provide up to 15 percent in fuel savings once it enters service in late 2015.

The new engines are being developed by both Pratt & Whitney and its rival CFM International, a French-U.S. engine maker, but Pratt & Whitney's fuel-efficient model has so far outsold a competing engine developed by CFM.

Pratt & Whitney and MTU Aero Engines, working on a 100 billion yen engine development project, had broadly agreed to use a material made from plastic and carbon fiber that has been developed by the Japanese firms to build rotary wings and surrounding areas, the Nikkei said.

Japanese companies including Toray Industries <3402.T> hold 70 percent of the global market share for carbon fiber and fuel efficiency could be enhanced by about 10 percent when this light material is used, the Nikkei said.

Malaysia-based AirAsia is expected to announce on Thursday at the Paris Air Show a $17 billion deal to order 200 A320neo aircraft, a move that could help boost CFM, owned by GE and Safran , as it tries to catch up with Pratt & Whitney.

(Reporting by Yoko Kubota; Editing by Nick Macfie)