Airbus A320 vs 737 : comparison between two narrow-body aircraft

It’s no new that aerospace giants Airbus and Boeing are the biggest rivals in the aviation industry. The complex and fierce battle has been around for decades, both developing the majority of commercial aircraft we travel on. The variant can see the long-standing competition between two aircraft manufacturing companies of aircraft they have produced. Today, let’s make a comparison between two prominent narrow-body aircraft- A320 vs 737.

Boeing VS Airbus

Both aircraft A320 and 737 are intuitive and are among the favorites of airlines to fly. Although Airbus A320 isn’t as spacious as A380, whose cabin lets customers stretch out in the wider seats, Airbus A320 is still the marmite of skies. The same is the case between Boeing 737 and recent 787s. But for now, we are comparing the aircraft of two huge aviation titans- A320 vs 737 , the aircraft we prefer, and that has ushered in a new golden age of air travel.

The Airbus A320 was launched in March 1984. It was introduced for the first time by Air France in April 1988. Boeing 737 narrow-body airliner entered into the service in February 1968 to supplement Boeing 727 on short and thin routes.

Airbus A320 uses an advanced sidestick and auto thrust system with a quiet cruise. Boeing, however, has a conventional yoke and autothrottle system, but its tactile feel and cross-wind capabilities are lit.

External difference between A320 and B737

The outside look of both aircraft can be confusing to beginners at first. Starting with the nose, A320 has a rounded nose as opposed to the sharp, pointed, and long nose of Boeing 737.

Airbus A320 vs 737
A6-FMC, flydubai Boeing 737 MAX 8 spotted in Tel Aviv on May 14th by Rami Mizrahi. The Boeing 737 has pointed nose.

Regarding engines, Airbus has a circular engine and looks large when viewed from the front. Boeing 737 engines have a flat spot at the bottom to give more ground clearances that help to protect against a ‘pod strike.’ The engines of the Boeing 737 are closer to the ground than that of the Airbus A320.

Airbus A320 vs 737
Himalaya Airlines A320 rounded nose.

Another way to spot the difference between A320 and B737 is the wingtips that reduce drag and make aircraft more fuel-efficient. The winglet technology of Boeing is angular, sometimes ‘split scimitar’ having two winglets, each pointing up and down. The wingtips of Airbus have the appearance of a shark fin. Some carriers also use the wingtip fences or endplates. Both winglets and sharklets on both aircraft appear a bit similar and not simple to be recognized or differentiated apart.

Interior features of A320 and 737

A320 and B737 aircraft are widely-known and the best-selling jetliners of all time to cater short-haul routes with cabins arranged in seat configuration of 3-3. But there’s a much difference in internal features of both aircraft.

To start with cabin width, the Airbus A320 family offers a wide cabin, with the passenger seat fraction wider than Boeing 737’s (by about 7 inches). A wider cabin aisle means more room for passengers and more passenger comfort while traveling.

The fuselage curve of B737 is inward and narrower than the curve of Airbus. The curvature also tilts the cabin wall inward, so passengers don’t have much room for maneuver onboard B737, and shoulder room is reduced in the window seat up against the fuselage. But A320 has a little aggressive curvature adding more space to rest your head.

Have you noticed the windows of both aircraft? The 737’s windows are slightly larger than A320’s, but they are placed lower, making passengers bend over or slouch just to see out of the window. But the window placement on European-made Jet is better since the windows are much closer to the eye level of passengers.

Besides window, cabin width, and curves, the other comfort specifications are decided by the individual airlines, like seats and amenities available onboard the aircraft. For e.g., Both United Airlines and Spirit Airlines have ‘Big Front Seat’ scheme on their 737 and A320, respectively. The legroom between the seats is down to the airline on how they decide the space. So, don’t blame Airbus or Boeing if your knees are almost touching the back of the seat in front of you.

Flight deck difference

Airbus’ single-aisle A320 aircraft has a wide and long flight deck. The large control yoke in front of pilot seats is used to steer the aircraft in Boeing 737 aircraft. Airbus has a sidestick and uses a retractable tray table to be used for the pilot’s paperwork. Boeing’s traditional control wheel gives a tactile experience to pilots. But the A320 is a ‘fly-by-wire’ aircraft that relies on sensors and electronics, allowing more space and one free hand. No large yoke means more comfortable flying for Airbus, while Boeing believes floor-mounted yoke connected to control cables are essential to handle emergencies. There is better coordination between the pilot and co-pilot. Flight controls can be manipulated directly by the pilot for maneuvering.

Pilots have their own personal preferences regarding these two models because both aircraft have a fundamentally different way of operation. But the retraction produces is the same for both aircraft as pilots can retract the landing gear in the same part of the flight profile.

Safety measures on Airbus A320 and Boeing B737

Airbus and Boeing both have accorded their priority to flight safety, considering different factors. Boeing 737 seeks to minimize the excessive reliance on automation and more responsibilities on the part of pilots. Airbus A320 has the objective of minimizing or eliminating pilot errors.

The flight decks of the Boeing 737 offer a satisfying work environment; the pilots have to undertake extensive training and must be familiarized with the designed workspace system.

A320 reinforces pilot training to handle stress in unexpected scenarios and make them situationally aware.

A320 vs 737 in terms of noise

The Airbus A320 creates the noise caused by Power Transfer Unit (PTU) through where pilots pressurize the hydraulics. The passengers can hear the noise under the floor around the middle of the cabin because PTU is located near the main landing gear.

Specs comparison between A320 and B737

  • Length

Airbus A320 has a length of 37.57 m/123 ft 3 inches.

Boeing 737-800 is 39.5m/ 129 ft 7 inches long.

  • Passenger capacity

Typically, A320 has a passenger seating capacity of 150 but can accommodate 190 pax at maximum. Boeing 737-800 can typically carry 162 passengers and 198 passengers at most.

  • Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW)

Boeing has an MTOW of 79000kgs, whereas Airbus has an MTOW of 77000 kgs.

Aircraft models of A320 and B737

Both A320 and 737s are family jets, and both have different variants.

The variants of the A320 family are A318, A319, A320, and A321. Now, the new models featuring a new design of A320 family aircraft are A319neo, A320neo, and A321neo.

Similarly, Boeing 737’s variants include B737 Origin [B737-100, B737-200], B737 Classic [B737-300, B737-400, and B737-500], B737 Next Generation [B737-600, B737-800, and B737-900] and brand new B737 Max [B737 Max-7, B737 Max-8, and B737 Max-9].

The specialty of Airbus A320

Airbus A320 is the most successful and versatile aircraft family of European aircraft manufacturer ‘Airbus’ known for its exceptional efficiency and quality. The long-range single-aisle aircraft is the pioneer aircraft to install fly-by-wire technology. It is the only aircraft that can load pallets and containers on the lower deck with its unique Cargo Loading System (CLS) option. American Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, EasyJet, China Southern Airlines, and IndiGo were the largest operators of the Airbus A320 family. Until July 2021, Airbus has delivered 9971 Airbus A320 family aircraft, making it the best-selling aircraft of all time. The most complex and innovative airline of its time, A320 is the best gift given by Airbus to the world.

The specialty of Boeing B737

Boeing B737 is the combination of excellent performance, range, seating capacity, improved wing design, and it is continuously evolving and improving to give fierce competition to A320. With aircraft worldwide landing and taking off every 5 seconds, Boeing has sold a whole lot of 737 aircraft. Even if you’d flied 40 years back, there’s a possibility that it was on 737 aircraft. The new variant of the 737 families: B737 MAX, has an elevated experience of flying that offers the greatest flexibility, reliability, and an exceptional degree of comfort with its state-of-art technology.

Airbus A320 vs 737
Buddha Air Boeing 737 flying at Pokhara. This image is not real. In articles A320 Vs 737

Final thoughts-Airbus A320 vs 737

Airbus A320 and Boeing B737 are the world’s best-selling aircraft of all time that changed the game in the aviation industry. They both have set the standard on the single-aisle market through their introduction and improvement continuously. In terms of order and deliveries are neck-to-neck, meaning both aircraft have a throat-cut global competition. Now to answer the question of which one of them is better-A320 or B737, there’s always a debate. Some choose Airbus for its wide seats, while others choose Boeing for its design philosophy and long history.

Both aircraft manufacturers are on the road to continuously innovate from strength to strength and assure the distinct ambiance, comfort, service, and design for the passengers. So, it’s the personal choice of passengers to decide which aircraft is the best for them. Which aircraft is your favorite-A320 or B737?

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