Lufthansa among possible A320neo customers: Leahy

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Bombardier CSeries launch customer Lufthansa is among several airlines and lessors interested in ordering the newly-launched Airbus A320neo.

Speaking to ATI today, Airbus chief operating officer for customers John Leahy said there were "no orders in hand right now" for the A320neo, but talks are taking place with Lufthansa, AirAsia, Qatar Airways, International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC), GECAS and IndiGo, all of whom are "very interested".

Leahy says Airbus does not need a launch customer because the A320neo is "not a typical" launch programme.

"It's not important how many we sell as Neo, it's how many A320s we sell," he notes, adding that whether customers order existing A320-family aircraft or the Neo version is "immaterial".

Airbus does not expect customers with existing orders for A320-family aircraft to switch to the A320neo.

"Virtually nothing in our backlog will convert to the Neo," says Leahy, but he expects "a large portion" of new A320 orders for deliveries in 2016 and 2017 to be for the Neo.

Lufthansa was not immediately able to comment.