The battle between the 737 and A320 began when Airbus made the bold move to challenge Boeing’s single-aisle dominance with the launch of the A320-100, first delivered to Air France in March 1988. Prior, however, the A320 appears before the delivery as Airbus operated several test aircraft. A two-horse race between the 737-300 and A320-200 emerged in the 1990s, and by the early 2000s the latter model became the most widely used by airlines. However, the introduction of the 737-800 saw Boeing claw back significant market share, and by the start of the following decade the two OEMs remained locked in their fierce battle to secure the mantel of supplier of the world’s most popular narrowbody twinjet.
Throughout this 40-year period, both OEMs launched multiple variants of their aircraft, offering stretched, updated and re-engined versions, providing airlines and lessors with a plethora of choices. The two programs now constitute the backbone of short-haul to medium-haul airline fleets around the globe and no credible challenger has emerged to disrupt this duopoly. As of August 28th 2019, the total order backlog for the A320neo family is at 5, 710 aircraft, while the 737 Max is listed at 4,425.