Aerospace & Defense

The Only Competition Anywhere in the World for the Boeing 737

As Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) struggles with the aftermath of the crash of two of its 737 Max 8 planes, the plane has only one competitor worldwide. Over time, that competitor’s sales may improve if airlines turn away from the Boeing airplane. And, in less than two days, a number of the largest airlines in the world have grounded their 737 Max fleets.

The latest versions of the Airbus 320 series actually have sold more planes worldwide than Boeing has 737 models.  And that may continue. According to Aviation Week, “there are currently 7,251 current-generation A320-family aircraft in service, versus 6,757 737NGs. Through 2022, meanwhile, Aviation Week expects Airbus to deliver 3,174 A320neos compared with 2,999 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.” These numbers reflect A320 and 737 sales beginning in about 1990; since the 737’s first delivery in 1967, the company has sold more than 10,000 of the planes. According to a 24/7 Wall St. analysis, the Boeing 373 Max has a price of about $100 million. The Airbus 320’s price is almost identical.

Boeing has two divisions. One is commercial aircraft. The other is defence products. It is one of the 20 companies profiting most from war.

The Airbus 320 and Boeing 737 are nearly the same in length and width. Depending on how they are configured, each is a single-aisle plane with between 150 and 180 seats. Each has a range of just over 3,000 nautical miles. That means each can be used for transcontinental service. Due to fuel efficiency, both Boeing and Airbus can market their planes for transatlantic service. However, Forbes described how each plane is used most often: “More often than not, short flights within Europe and the United States involve narrowbody twin-engine airliners such as the Airbus A320 or Boeing 737, as well as a myriad of smaller regional types. Long haul trips of 4,500 kilometers or more differ significantly in that the aircraft on the route is generally larger with workhorses such as the Boeing 777 and Airbus A330 hauling passengers huge distances.”

The Airbus 320 family also has been involved in air disasters. That means, head to head, Airbus cannot claim it has a spotless safety record.

Airbus claims that the 320 family “moves the world.” That is not true to the extent that Boeing sells approximately the same number of 737s. However, the Boeing accidents have made passengers and some airline employees anxious. That is good for Airbus as it competes with Boeing in the commercial narrow-body business.