ALAFCO orders 20 Boeing jets in $1.9bn deal
Kuwait-based airplane leasing company ALAFCO and Boeing confirmed an order for 20 Boeing 737 MAX 8s valued at US$1.9bn at current list prices.
The order, first announced as a commitment at the Farnborough Airshow in July, makes ALAFCO the first regional carrier to commit to the new fuel-efficient airplane.
"We are proud of the confidence that ALAFCO has placed in the 737 MAX, and hope to continue this partnership well into the future," said Ray Conner, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
The 737 MAX is the new-engine variant of the world's best-selling airplane and builds on the strengths of today's Next-Generation 737.
The aircraft will be powered by new CFM International LEAP-1B engines and will reduce fuel burn and CO2 emissions by 13 percent compared to today's most fuel-efficient single-aisle airplane.
The order brings the total number of 737 MAX orders to date to 878, Boeing said in a statement.
"As one of the few 737 customers in the region, it should be relatively easy for [ALAFCO] to hone in on the 737’s immense popularity when leasing these aircraft out,” said Saj Ahmad, chief analyst at StrategicAero Research.
“Of course, some will be asking whether part or all of this order is destined to be for the fast-growing likes of flydubai and at present that is not clear - especially as flydubai has indicated that it would be placing a new order of its own when the time is right.
“Oman Air too, having previously bought 787s from ALAFCO could also be a customer. In fact, anyone operating a 737-800 will be a candidate for ALAFCO's new 737 MAX 8s. Beyond the GCC market, ALAFCO will be aware that the 737 MAX 8 has become the most popular seller so placing these jets will not be an issue,” he added.
ALAFCO had previously ordered six 737-800s in March 2007 with the last airplane delivered to the leasing company in July 2011.