Narrow Body Boeing and Airbus Aircraft : Different Design Features

Narrow Body Boeing and Airbus Aircraft : Different Design Features

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Commercial aviation has been dominated by Boeing and Airbus for the past 20 years, with each manufacturer owning 50% of the global commercial aviation market.

Boeing has been in the aviation industry for longer, founded in 1916, while the Airbus consortium began in 1970. They are the greatest rivals in commercial aerospace today. Even for aircraft lovers, telling the two manufacturers apart is not easy. Here are some ways to compare narrow body jets and to easily distinguish between Boeing and Airbus airliners.

Firstly, Airbus designates their models as A3xx, e.g. A320, A330 and A350.

Boeing uses a different format such as 7×7, e.g. 737, 747 and 777.

Boeing Vs Airbus: Narrow Body Jets, How To Tell The Difference?

For Narrow body jets, the differences between Airbus and Boeing are quite subtle. Especially since generations of 737’s have a fair bit of variety between them, and the Airbus A320 family is available with various options for airlines.

The Boeing 737 have a distinct pointed nose compared to any Airbus A320 variant. The Airbus A320 family of commercial aircraft have a much more rounded nose.

Narrow Body Boeing and Airbus Aircraft : Different Design Features

The Boeing 737’s nose is distinctly “sharper” than the Airbus A320. Pictured here is the Qantas Boeing 737. Notice the “L” shaped winglets.

Narrow Body Boeing and Airbus Aircraft : Different Design Features

Here is an Ural Airlines Airbus A320. The rounded nose is quite apparent.

The Boeing 737 side cockpit windows angle upwards at the bottom edges, and can be seen across all generations of the 737. Newer models of the 737 have unique split scimitar winglets, a feature Airbus does not include on any of their aircraft.

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Narrow Body Boeing and Airbus Aircraft : Different Design Features

Norwegian Boeing 737 MAX. The aircraft can easily be identified with its split scimitar winglets and serrated engine nacelles.

With many Boeing 737’s and Airbus A321’s featuring blended wingtips, this feature may not be the most ideal to distinguish between the manufacturers. The pointed nose of the Boeing and the rounded nose of the Airbus is probably the best way to distinguish between the two.

Narrow Body Boeing and Airbus Aircraft : Different Design Features

Iceland Air Boeing 757. Just like the Boeing 737, the side windows have upward angled bottom edges.

Discerning between them during the day is difficult, however, an easy way to observe differences at night is by examining the strobe lights on the wingtips. Boeing strobe lights flash once, while Airbus strobe lights flash twice in rapid succession.

This was just a basic introduction into the most distinguishable features and design characteristics of certain narrow body jet models of Airbus and Boeing commercial aircraft.

Did Defence Aviation miss anything? How to tell the difference between narrow body Airbus and Boeing aircraft?

Let us know in the comments!

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