Comparing Neo, Ceo, NG and MAX

As Airbus and Boeing battle for orders for the current generation A320 and 737 families and for the re-engined models, comparisons between the four sets of aircraft has been difficult to come by.

Furthermore, with Boeing continuing to evolve the MAX–not only with the engine specifications but also the airplane weights–ambiguity sometimes dominates.

Boeing continues to talk with customers about the definition of the MAX, with higher weights under study. Airbus is more advanced, but of course until flight testing confirms figures, nothing is certain.

Over time, information as emerged through Airbus, Boeing, Pratt & Whitney and other statements and information. Aspire Aviation (now Orient Insight) also has been a solid source of information. Our own data gathering has obtained some solid information as well.

From all these sources, we’ve put together the following table. The 737-7 MAX is the murkiest, with little apparent interest so far from the customer base. Taking known facts for the 8/9 MAX, we estimated some of the specifications for the 7 MAX.

What struck us on the NEO is that Airbus specifications for range are greater than has been previously revealed.

We consider the specifications of NEO and MAX still evolving until flight tests for all six sub-types prove design goals.

Click to enlarge and use zoom-in or magnifier to enlarge further for fine print.

 

40 Comments on “Comparing Neo, Ceo, NG and MAX

  1. @Leeham:

    “What struck us on the NEO is that Airbus specifications for range are greater than has been previously revealed.”

    From the chart it seems both the NEO and MAX will have a decent increase in range from their predecessors. The A321NEO ostensibly though looks to be a rather decent B757 replacement for probably the majority of the B757 routes many carriers fly.

  2. Thank you !
    So 737 MAX MZFW increase well above 2 t, does it mean more weight added to the max than to the NEO’s (+1.8t)
    And boeing proposing increased MTOW for all 3 variants (+3.2 t) as opposed to airbus (+1 t on the A320NEO only)

    Very interesting, -9MAX vs A321NEO
    Airbus numbers are public since new year press presentation at least

  3. On question

    Does the range estimates for the max take in account the new winglets and the new Leap fan diameter ?

    Thank you

      • Ok so il shoud be better now

        I think that the Airbus numbers are with ACT (fuel tank on cargo hold : 1 for A319 and A320 and 2 for A321)
        Is it the same for Boeing ?
        Or is it range numbers for internal fuel only

        Thank you

  4. The MZFW can also apply to the basic weight plus the payload. That is what is missing from your chart, Scott, if any of the airplanes have a payload increase, or is it all new design weight increase.

    As far as the A-321NEO being a B-757 replacement, remember range alone isn’t the entire defination. The payload of the B-752 is about 25,000-30,000 lbs more than the A-321, not only in pax numbers, but cargo, too. The B-752 has a 250,000 lb MTOW, and the A-321 is down at about 210,000 lbs.

    • MZFW of the 757-200 is 186000 lbs
      MZFW of the 321-200 is 166000 lbs

      So the MTOWs might be right, but includes the 757-200s higher empty weight, making the usefull (payload) difference small.

      Apart from that the A321 has a credible cargo system, accepting containers and pallets.

      I have the feeling Airbus isn’t ready with the A321 NEO specs. They have some time left after they deffered it two yrs. A more dramatic range/capasity/payload increase might be under consideration, almost certainly requiring further wing adjustments. Airlines are asking for it. The retiring 757, A300/A310, 767, Tu154 leave a gab in many markets; Inter Asia, US transcon, TATL, EMEA, high density city pairs and leisure/charters up to 8 hours. IMO 2000 machines in the next 20 yrs.

      Over the last few yrs I published an IMO feasible TATL A322 configuration. Main modification/ investment would be the wing. A new wing to stow the fuel and reduce wing loading.. Market demand will decide I guess..

  5. keesje :
    oops forgot the A322 link
    http://i191.photobucket.com/albums/z160/keesje_pics/A322NEOTATLwithLOPA.jpg

    Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam 😉

    MZFW of the 757-200 is 186000 lbs – OEW 127,520
    = 58,480 lbs max Payload. fuel : 69,000 lbs to MTOW ( 255klbs )
    MZFW of the 321-200 is 166000 lbs – OEW 107,000
    = 59,000 lbs max Payload. fuel : 43,000 lbs to MTOW ( 206klbs )

    my guess is the NEO needs ~25% better engine sfc _over_ the 757 to achieve payload/range parity?

  6. “my guess is the NEO needs ~25% better engine sfc _over_ the 757 to achieve payload/range parity?”

    In that case it would be interesting to know how much of the payload of both aircraft for say a 3000nm flight with 180 passengers is made up of fuel..

    • The A321 is the best 757 replacement frame out now. Bigger wings, more thrust and its there. Many say it wasnt a bad idea to end the 757, but I believe it would have sold if still for offer. Its a perfect little niche that no other planes can compete in.

      Would be irony if Airbus would bring the real 757 replacement and rub it in Boeings face. TATL is one area were a smaller aircraft could find a use, intra asia on thin routes and America has use of them. Maybe Europe to Africa as well? 4300nm and 220 seats, as the 788 will be the smallest wb after 767 and A330 is eoled.

      Hot and high is one area were the 757 excells too. I cant see how the 739er could ever come close to 757 in this area.

      Great idea with the 322 🙂

      • Boeing closed the B-757 FAL after it had no sales. They did try to sell it but no one wanted it at the time. Once the line was closed Boeing used that space for the B-737NG and B-787.

        The A-321 is no B-757. It does not have the range nor the payload capability. The closest airplane still being offered by anyone for a B-757 is the B-767-200 non-ER version. Perhaps the new B-767-2C (the design the KC-46 is growing from) would also be a good replacement. The B-787-3 would also have been a good replacement for the B-757 and the A-300, but even it didn’t have the range the B-757 has. The B-757 was a unique airplane that was capable of replacing the B-707, B-727, DC-8 (except the DC-8-60/-70 series), early A-300B2/B4, and A-310.

        The problem with the B-757, as we know it today, is the airplane out grew its original airline concept and airlines didn’t realize it until the B-757 was gone. If it had sold more and remained in production, it would have been reengined, and lighter than it was.

  7. I have just seen a report in the London Eveing standard COMAC is to base there European head quarters in PARIS France so watch out Airbus/Boeing COMAC’S C919 waiting in the wing’s to take center stage if one or the outher FAIL’S.

  8. The Airbus range number are suspect. I currently fly an A320 (V2500) for a US major airline and I can tell you uneqivocally that the airplane will not go 3300nm even in still air.

    • The real question is what information is accurate and how can there be a comparison when the Max is still in design mode. How much additional efficiency Boeing will be able to produce with its engine capacity and the architecture of the plane remains speculative. I think Scott gets it right when he says that it will only be when the models are tested that we will finally know

      • I don’t agree. Known parameters of both aircraft, specifications of both aircraft are known. That’s why airlines are prepared to spend billions on them yrs before even detailed specs are frozen. Even entire new large aircraft like the A380 got very close to all the original specs contracted 6 yrs before. So a reengining should be pretty straight forward, and it is. Airlines ordering aircraft don’t expect unforeseen efficiency miracles.

    • Which MTOW option and engine version?

      Not unsurprising as the current ACAPS (V2500-A5, wingtip fences ) shows just short of 3000nm for 150pax/13.5t payload. ( 330nm with 6.5t )
      How much extra range will the new wingtip devices provide?

    • 121 PIlot :
      The Airbus range number are suspect. I currently fly an A320 (V2500) for a US major airline and I can tell you uneqivocally that the airplane will not go 3300nm even in still air.

      I presume you’re flying an A320 without the extra fuel tank in the cargo hold …

      • Probably.
        The ACAPS gives 16t payload at the MZFW/MTOW corner
        77t – 41t – 16t ~= 20t fuel and sundries. } 18.75t fuel cap for the base version? next would be 21t ( 2.25t per Xtra tank )

      • Our airline did fit several aircraft with the extra fuel tank and the problem we found was that at MTOW you were in such a corner of th CG envelope that often moving a bag from an aft Bin to a forward one to correct an aft CG condition created a forward CG problem. Basically at high weight the extra tank doesn’t work and as a result we removed all of them from the fleet.

        • thysi :

          121 PIlot :
          The Airbus range number are suspect. I currently fly an A320 (V2500) for a US major airline and I can tell you uneqivocally that the airplane will not go 3300nm even in still air.

          I presume you’re flying an A320 without the extra fuel tank in the cargo hold …

          Uwe :
          Probably.
          The ACAPS gives 16t payload at the MZFW/MTOW corner
          77t – 41t – 16t ~= 20t fuel and sundries. } 18.75t fuel cap for the base version? next would be 21t ( 2.25t per Xtra tank )

          121 PIlot :
          Our airline did fit several aircraft with the extra fuel tank and the problem we found was that at MTOW you were in such a corner of th CG envelope that often moving a bag from an aft Bin to a forward one to correct an aft CG condition created a forward CG problem. Basically at high weight the extra tank doesn’t work and as a result we removed all of them from the fleet.

          So either the A-320 comes up short on range, at MTOW, or has to leave pax/cargo/baggage on the ramp to meet Airbus’s performance specs. We have known this as fact for years, although always denied by the Airbus Cheerleader Squad. B6, during the winter months cannot fly non-stop BOS-LAX or SFO or JFK-SFO or LAX. But the DL and AA B-737-800Ws seem to be able to do it all year long going west bound. East bound is almost never a problem as you usually have strong tailwinds over the CONUS.

          We also know that the B-737-800 flies from the west coast to Hawaii, year round, yet the A-320 is never put on this route because it does not have the required fuel reserves of 2 hours of holding over an island destination.

    • If that were true, why didn’t Airbus already know that from wind tunnel testing? Winglets will improve gas milage, but there is a limit to the improvement, esspecially on short haul flights like most flights in Europe are. The AW&ST story does not say how much of an improvement the winglets gave, and on what mission lenght. Was the improvement only 0.01%? The blended winglets on the B-737NG give an average of about 3.5% improvement spread over all mission lenghts. That is what Airbus was originally saying the sharklets would give. I have a problem with believing it will be more than that unless the drag factor of a non-sharklet equipped A-320 was higher than most people believed.

      • “If that were true, why didn’t Airbus already know that from wind tunnel testing?”

        Maybe they are a bit conservative in promising enhancements.

        “The blended winglets on the B-737NG give an average of about 3.5% improvement spread over all mission lenghts. That is what Airbus was originally saying the sharklets would give.”

        Airbus was hoping to see an improvement in fuel burn of up to 3.5% on long flights. That seems successful, according to the guy responsible for the flight tests during the last 6 months.

        So lets celebrate this achievement TB 😉 Hopefully Boeings new wingtip devices will also be as good as promised. When will flight tests start?

  9. The higher MTOw versions of the A320 and A321 are actually fuel volume limited under some conditions.

  10. Remember, the information that AW&ST printed came from Airbus themselves. So the accuracy of the information is questionable. The data is not from an independent source.

    • KC135TopBoom :
      Remember, the information that AW&ST printed came from Airbus themselves. So the accuracy of the information is questionable. The data is not from an independent source.

      Unlike the info on the latest Boeing winglets, which came from Boeing themselves, so it must be the unquestionable truth?

      • But Boeing published the information themselves. They didn’t go through AW&ST to do the story first.

  11. keesje :
    Airbus was hoping to see an improvement in fuel burn of up to 3.5% on long flights.

    If that is in relation to the regular wingtip fences you get >5% in relation to the “bare neckid” wingtips.

    • Since most A-32Xs already have the wingtip fences, any improvement for the sharklets will be above that configueration, not in addition to it. In other words, the wingtip fence configueration will be the base model for comparison.

      • Wrong.
        For an objective comparison to competitor products you would have to compare to bare wingtips. ( Actually you have to take the differing aero limitations of the host wings into account too )

        • I’m afraid it is you, my friend who is wrong. There are only a very few A-32Xs and B-737NGs flying around without wingtip devices that the base numbers cannot statisticly be representitive. For comparison of a sharklet equipped A-320 to an A-320-100, there is no real difference in the wing profile. But, Airbus is using an A-320-100 (MSN-001, I believe) as one of the flight test airplanes. But this same airplane wore blended winglets back in 2009 in that flight test program.

  12. TB the test A320 used is probably one of the best know aircraft aerodynamically, indetail. It is used to verify the CFD modelling done during the design phase. The performance of the tested winglets is pretty well known..

  13. keesje :I don’t agree. Known parameters of both aircraft, specifications of both aircraft are known. That’s why airlines are prepared to spend billions on them yrs before even detailed specs are frozen. Even entire new large aircraft like the A380 got very close to all the original specs contracted 6 yrs before. So a reengining should be pretty straight forward, and it is. Airlines ordering aircraft don’t expect unforeseen efficiency miracles.

    There are sufficient differences as well as variables to make comparisons at this point just a matter of opinion rather than fact. Airlines ordering aircraft understand their routes and seating preferences. as well as their operational priorities.

    Many orders are contingent on performance guarantees as well as pricing . There will be no miracles but hard earned efforts to maximize the offerings so as to be competitive., I actually believe the Neo and the Max will only be within a small margin of difference and most of the comparisons are just marketing hype

  14. The CG chart for the 737 -800 and -900 at least are obelisk shaped.
    i.e. you have the “last bag always wrong” thing there too.
    What payload do they shuffle to Hawaii ?

    • Well, not quite “obelisk shaped” for the % of MAC chart for the B-737-800/-900ER. It, like most Boeing airplanes, is a very steep triangle shape.

      To Hawaii, the B-738 shuffles people, and of course their baggage. It also takes US Mail, like most American airliners do.

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