(adds CEO comments, details, background)
By Alexander Cornwell
DUBAI, Nov 29 (Reuters) - Kuwaiti budget carrier Jazeera Airways is likely to place an aircraft order next year to expand and replace a fleet of around 15 jets, its chief executive said on Wednesday.
Jazeera Airways is considering the Airbus A320neo, Boeing’s 737 MAX, Bombardier’s CSeries, or Embraer’s E2 narrowbody jets, Chief Executive Rohit Ramachandran told reporters at an industry conference in Dubai.
The order is likely to be placed by the end of 2018, he said, declining to say how many aircraft Jazeera Airways would be ordering.
The Kuwait-listed airline has not decided how it would finance the order, but it is debt free and has $100 million in cash reserves, Ramachandran said.
Jazeera Airways is adding two jets to its fleet of seven A320 aircraft by February 2018.
Ramachandran said a further five to six leased jets would likely be added until 2022 when it would start taking delivery of the aircraft order.
Jazeera Airways is expanding in South Asia, having started flights to Hyderabad in India this month, and also looking at adding more routes to neighbouring Gulf countries and to the former Soviet states in Central Asia.
Ramachandran said the airline would remain focused on short to medium-haul flights in the near term, but was still interested in finding a partner to start long-haul flights.
Jazeera Airways has previously expressed interest in buying state-owned Kuwait Airways, which the government has considered privatising. (Reporting by Alexander Cornwell; editing by Louise Heavens)