Airlines could sign orders for more than 122 Airbus A320neos within the next three weeks, as the airframe looks to stretch its lead over the Boeing 737 Max.

"I'll hazard a guess that by the end of this month we'll be over 2,000 firmly ordered neos," says John Leahy, Airbus chief operating officer for customers, at the International Society for Transport Aircraft Trading (ISTAT).

Airbus has 1,878 A320neos on order since launching the programme in December 2010, leaving at least 122 new orders to go to meet Leahy's objective.

Leahy's statement comes almost a month after Lufthansa opened negotiations with Airbus and Boeing on a potential order for 100 new re-engined narrowbodies. Lufthansa currently operates a fleet of A320 family aircraft and Boeing 737 Classics.

A new order would stretch Airbus' lead over the 737 Max only a few weeks after Boeing re-confirmed an order for 100 of the type from American Airlines.

The A320neo, which was launched 10 months ahead of the 737 Max, now boasts a 61% market share against its re-engined competitor.

Making another bold prediction, Leahy predicted that the A320neo would retain its market share advantage over the 737 Max over the life of the programme.

"The market is speaking and saying that over 60% of the orders are probably going to be for neos and not for Max's," Leahy says.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news