How to Tell Airbus and Boeing Airliners Apart
Is It an Airbus or Boeing?
Many of the popular airliners in service worldwide are built by Airbus and Boeing, but telling these manufacturers and models apart can be difficult.
Included on this page is a quick-and-easy, side-by-side identification of the differences between the common Boeing and Airbus jet airliners of the day.
How to tell the difference between Airbus and Boeing Airliners
For starters, Airbus airliners are designated as A3xx models, e.g., A320, A330 and A350. Boeing airliners are numbered in the 7x7 format, like 737, 747 or 787.
Here are some tips on how to distinguish frequently seen airliners from Airbus and Boeing ...
Boeing 737 vs Airbus A320
Shown in this chart is a side-by-side comparison of the
Airbus A321 vs Boeing 757
Side-by-side comparison of the
Note that the A321 has two 2-wheel main gear assemblies, while the 757 has two 4-wheel landing gear.
Boeing 767 vs Airbus A330
Two popular wide-body jetliners are similar in overall appearance. The Boeing 767 (top) and Airbus A330 (bottom) are twin-engine, wide-body airliners. The main landing gear on the Boeing 767 lean to the front, while those on the A330 lean to the rear.
Boeing 777 vs Airbus A350-1000
How to tell the difference between a Boeing 777 and Airbus A350.
Shown below is a side-by-side view of the characteristics of the wide-body Airbus A350-1000 (top) and Boeing 777-300 (bottom)
Boeing 787 vs Airbus A350-900
New competitors in the wide-body marketplace are the Boeing 787 and the Airbus A350. Their overall appearance is similar. Shown below is a side-by-side comparison highlighting the differences between the Boeing 787 (top) and Airbus A350 (below)
Airbus A380 vs Boeing 747
Boeing and Airbus both feature wide-body jumbo airliners in their product line. Here is a side-by-side view showing how to distinguish the Boeing 747 (top) and Airbus A380 (below).
A Few Notable Differences Between Airbus and Boeing Jet Airliners
|The typical narrow-body Airbus airliner features a "rounded nose" with windshield straight across the bottom, and the rear windshield window "notched"|
|The classic Boeing airliner has a "pointed nose" with a "V-shaped' windshield|
But there are always exceptions! Like in the new Airbus A350 and Boeing 787. Shown below is the fuselage nose and windshield configuration of the Airbus A350 (top) and Boeing 787 (bottom).
|Comparison of typical Boeing wide-body tail structure (top) compared with a typical Airbus structure (bottom) which has more of a straight fuselage alignment across the bottom of the tail|
Boeing and Airbus Airliner Operations at Night
While spotting airliners during the day can sometimes be difficult, nighttime air operations make the process even harder.
One way to tell Boeing and Airbus airliners apart at night is by examining the pattern of the white light at the tip of the wing, known as the strobe.
Boeing wing strobe lights flash only once, while Airbus airliners flash twice in rapid succession.
Spotting Guides for Boeing and Airbus Airliners
|Airbus Commercial Aircraft||Boeing Commercial Aircraft|
|Airbus A300||Airbus A220||Boeing 747||Boeing 707|
|Airbus A310||Airbus A318||Boeing 767||Boeing 717|
|Airbus A330||Airbus A319||Boeing 777||Boeing 727|
|Airbus A340||Airbus A320||Boeing 787||Boeing 737|
|Airbus A350||Airbus A321||Boeing 757|