Aspire Aviaton has a long article comparing the A320neo and the B737MAX. Although the main conclusion (Quote: "At the end of the day, Aspire Aviation predicts a balanced narrowbody market equally split between the Airbus A320neo and Boeing 737 MAX.") seems right to me, there are a few detail which I would like to clarify or correct:
- OEW difference between A320 and B737-800 as of today: the best way to get the right answer is to ask an airline which operates both aircraft. Turkish Airlines is one of them and they have an open website with weight & balance sheets. In these sheets you can see the exact OEW of every aircraft in their fleet. I extracted them and compared the A320 and the B737-800W. It looks like the B737-800 is about 1000kg lighter than the A320 - although there are some very light A320 aircraft and some rather heavy B737-800W frames.
- The OEW increase for the A320neo: in fact, a Flightglobal article from 2011 states that the PW1100G equipped would gain 1.8t in weight vs. the LEAP-1A powered A320neo being 1.7t heavier than today's A320. But that was before CFM decided to add a 7th stage in the LPT and to enlarge the fan diameter from 75" to 78", as the early SFC was not competitive with the PW offering. So we can expect that the LEAP-1A powered version will be at least as heavy as the GTF powered A320neo. I heard some time ago that the LEAP-1A would be even heavier than the GTF and that the long LPT of the LEAP-1A could pose a problem for the wing as the center of gravity moves forward of the wing.
- There is one thing I do not understand about the range increase of the B737MAX-8 and B737MAX-9. According to Boeing it will be 3,620nm for the -8 and 3595nm for the -9. This is 540nm or 17.5% for for the -8 and 17.7% more for the -9. With the fuel tank volume unchanged as Aspire Aviation reports and fuel efficiency better by "only" 13% compared to the respective NG models - there is a miracle happening inflight...
- On the other hand, Airbus says that the A320ceo with Sharklets will have a range of 3,300nm. As the efficiency of the Shaklets should be well known by now, I assume that this number is correct. If we now add 12% efficiency for the neo coming from the engines, the A320neo should have a range of about 3,700nm - close to the 3,760nm that Airbus revealed to Leeham News. The 3,510nm from Aspire Aviation seems to be too low.
- There is an obvious typing error (typing error is corrected now!) when Aspire Aviation says that Boeing asserts that the B737MAX-8 would be 2,200lbs lower in OEW per seat. But given that we already saw that the current A320 is 1,000kg/2,200lbs heavier than the B737-800W and the B737MAX-8 will gain more in OEW than the A320neo (3,750lbs vs. 5,500lbs), the difference in OEW per seat will be much lower than before.
- Aspire Aviation states that both airframer rejected the VAFN. This is true for Boeing, as the lower bypass ratio and therefore higher Fan Pressure Ratio means that a VAFN would not have a real benefit. But the PW1100G will have a VAFN, although Airbus rejected a VAFN for use on the LEAP-1A.
Boeing now claims a 10% lower OEW per seat advantage for the B737-800 relative to the A320. But when one calculates the OEW per seat (most of the Turkish Airlines A320 have 159 seats, most of the 737-800W's have 165 seats), there is a difference of "just" about 6.5% (273kg/seat vs. 257kg/seat). Boeing's claim was against 150 seats in the A320 and 162 seats in the B737-800W.
Both aircraft are still in development. How they will perform when they are in service cannot really predicted today. Too much hinges on how the engine OEM's can stick to their claims and predictions.
But - as I said before - the main conclusion will be that there will be an evenly split market between the big two. The real interesting question (for me at least) is, how much of the cake the newcomers like Bombardier with their CSeries, COMAC with the C919 and Irkut with the MS-21 will get in the long run.