SINGAPORE: ALAFCO signs for 35 more A320neos, awaits 737 Max offer

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ALAFCO has confirmed at the Singapore Airshow that it has increased its orders for the Airbus A320neo, taking its backlog for the re-engined narrowbody to 85.

The Kuwaiti lessor told Flightglobal that it has a "good appetite" for the rival Boeing 737 Max and is awaiting offers from Seattle before it decides on an order.

The company announced last year that it had placed orders for 50 A320neos for delivery from 2017, all of which will be powered by Pratt & Whitney's PW1000G. The latest deal represents the conversion of options and is worth $3.4 billion at list prices.

ALAFCO chairman and chief executive Ahmad Alzabin said the engine selection for the latest batch of 35 aircraft has not been made, but could be announced during the show if a deal can be finalised. The A320neo is also available with the CFM International Leap-1A.

Meanwhile, ALAFCO has been in discussions with Boeing about an order for the 737 Max.

"We have a good appetite for a good number of aircraft," said the lessor's executive vice-president Abulqasim Abdulghaffar Redha. "The size of the order will depend on the offer we get from Boeing," he added.

Alzabin said he thought that Boeing's initial focus has been on potential airline customers, which is why the lessor had yet to receive offers.

Flightglobal revealed a likely new order from ALAFCO last month, after Airbus's regular monthly update included an order for 35 A320neos signed on 20 December from an unidentified customer and the airframer's website was updated to show 85 orders against ALAFCO, 35 more than previously stated.

The new deal takes A320neo firm orders "close to 1,300 aircraft", said Airbus chief operating officer for customers John Leahy.

"That's firm orders, not flaky commitments," he added, in what was a likely dig at his rival's order claims for the 737 Max.