A320 vs 737

The battle for market supremacy

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Compare 40 years of changes in market share for the Boeing 737 and the Airbus A320 family
About the project
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.
About the data
In this visualization our data analysts have exported the in-service figures from point of entry into the market for each variant. The A320 appears before the announcement of Air France taking delivery of the first aircraft, because Airbus operated flight test aircraft prior to the hand-over. Although our analysts chose to start the bar chart race at 1980, the 737-100/200 program had been in production since 1966.
Cirium’s comprehensive fleets database consists of over 390,000 individual aircraft records, and includes information on:
  • Hours and cycles per MSN
  • Individual aircraft history, including operator/owner changes
  • Lease end dates by MSN
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Cirium fleets and market insights
Access over 390,000 aircraft records, researched by a team of 45 aviation data experts.
  • Understand the global fleet with In-Service, On-Order and Storage figures by operator, owner and manager
  • Analyze the utilization of airframes with hours and cycles figures by individual MSN
  • Predict aftermarket demand by accessing MRO contract data and lease end dates
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