(Bloomberg) -- Kuwaiti carrier Jazeera Airways said it’s in negotiations with Airbus SE and Boeing Co. about the next phase of its fleet expansion, with the focus on the European planemaker’s A321neo model.

While talks with both firms have been positive, a deal for the largest Airbus narrow-body is “very likely,” Chief Executive Officer Rohit Ramachandran said in an interview Monday, adding that a decision may be weeks away.

Jazeera currently operates an all-Airbus fleet, comprising a mix of original-generation A320s and newer A320neos, the ninth of which is set to arrive in the last week of this month, extending the total to 17 planes. Ramachandran said the tally should increase to 35 aircraft by 2026 after the pandemic delayed the discount airline’s initial plans by 18 months.

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic Jazeera had said it was considering Airbus’s long-range A321 LR and even the XLR in order to link cities in Western Europe and East Asia via its hub in the Gulf.

Ramachandran also said that:

  • Jazeera, which laid off about 500 employees last year, is “well on the way to rehiring” those who want to rejoin
  • Cash reserves are at an all-time high of 44 million dinars ($146 million) after a $20 million saving last year

Jazeera earlier reported third-quarter earnings that wiped out its first-half losses. Click here for details.

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