The Airbus A320 vs A320neo – What’s The Difference?

Airbus A320

The Airbus A320 is not only the most popular Airbus aircraft ever made. It is rapidly approaching (and may soon take over) the number one most sold aircraft spot in the world, a spot currently held by the Boeing 737.

But unlike Boeing, which has moved 737 productions onto their ill-fated 737 MAX series, Airbus actually offers two versions of the A320, the original A320ceo, and the newer A320neo.

The older ‘CEO’ stands for the current engine option, while the ‘neo’ is the new engine option. But is it just a different engine, or did Airbus take the time to redesign the aircraft for the next generation?

How do they compare?

How do they compare? We can see that the A320neo is actually a bit bigger than the A320ceo. This means it’s able to carry more fuel, fly a longer range, fit more passengers and fly a little faster.

It goes without saying that the major improvement is the different engine. The new engine option is more fuel-efficient, quieter, and pushes the distance.

How much do they cost?

Looking at the prices, we can see that these improvements are relatively cheap.

  • A320ceo – $100 million USD
  • A320neo -$110 million USD

For only $10 million more, Airbus offers an aircraft that is far more fuel-efficient and easily outcompetes its predecessor. Essentially, these improvements of the A320neo (apart from the engines) can easily be retroactively installed on older A320s.

Thus a hybrid ‘enhanced’ version of the A320ceo can be created, which has all the fuel improvements of the A320neo, and 100 extra nautical miles on its range to boot.

Thus airlines have a compelling reason to order the A320, although only 48 orders remain for the aircraft right now. It is likely that Airbus will be encouraging their clients to switch to the neo version (like they did with the A330 program).

More subtle improvements

The change in engines is perhaps the most conspicuous improvement between the A320ceo and A320neo. However, Airbus has also paid careful attention to several more subtle factors that also greatly add to the A320neo’s appeal. These apply both to the aircraft’s operators and their passengers.

Wingtips

Airbus originally had small, triangular wingtips on the A320. These worked functionally but actually proved to increase drag. As a result, Airbus drew inspiration from Boeing’s blended winglet designs.

This led to the development of a larger, curved wingtip called a ‘sharklet.’ This allowed Airbus to significantly increase fuel efficiency, by a factor of approximately 7%.

Cabin

The cabin has seen several improvements, both technologically and ergonomically. These features include better pressurization, greater luggage space, and noise reduction systems. Passengers can also enjoy LED lighting and a modern seating design for greater comfort.

Aircraft specifications

Airbus A320-200 Airbus A320neo
Length 37.57 m / 123 ft 3 in 37.57 m / 123 ft 3 in
Wingspan 34.10 m / 111 ft 10 in or 35.80 m / 117 ft 5 in with sharklets 35.80 m / 117 ft 5 in
Wingarea 122.60 sq m / 1,320 sq ft 123.00 sq m / 1,324 sq ft
Height 11.76 m / 38 ft 7 in 11.76 m / 38 ft 7 in
Engines 2 2
Thrust per engine 120 kN / 27,000 lbf 121 kN / 27,120 lbf
Total thrust 240 kN / 54,000 lbf 242 kN / 54,240 lbf
MTOW 77,000 kgs / 170,000 lbs 78,000 kgs / 172,000 lbs
Range 5,700 km / 3,078 nm or 6,200 km / 3,350 nm with sharklets 6,300 km / 3,400 nm
Cruise speed Mach 0.78 (963km/h or 598mph) Mach 0.82 (1,013km/h or 629mph
Two-class capacity 140-170 passengers 150-180 passengers
Maximum capacity 190 passengers 189 passengers

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