Farnborough, United Kingdom: Boeing Tuesday said Kuwaiti aircraft leasing company ALAFCO had committed to buy 20 of the US planemaker’s future single-aisle 737 MAX planes worth a combined $1.9 billion.

Boeing, which made the announcement at the Farnborough airshow near London, said it was the first commitment from a Middle Eastern company to buy the plane.

“Boeing and Kuwait airplane leasing company ALAFCO today announced a commitment at the 2012 Farnborough Airshow for 20 Boeing 737 MAX 8s valued at $1.9 billion at current list prices,” the pair said.

“This is the first commitment for the 737 MAX from the Middle East which is one of the aviation industry’s highest growth regions,” said Ray Conner, president of Boeing’s commercial airplanes division.

“We are proud of the confidence that ALAFCO has placed in the 737 MAX which will deliver unsurpassed fuel efficiency in the single-aisle market as well as improved environmental performance,” he added at a joint signing ceremony.

Boeing’s 737 MAX series is an upgraded and more fuel-efficient version of the 737, the world’s best-selling commercial airplane.

The first 737 MAX is scheduled to be delivered in 2017.

“Today, with rising fuel costs, the 737 MAX will provide operational cost savings to airlines in addition to being more environmentally-friendly due to its latest quiet engine technology,” said ALAFCO chief executive Ahmad Alzabin. “These are the advantages that airlines are looking for in the current competitive and demanding environment.”