Market Presence. The design of the B737-800 still owes much to the original B737 of the 1960s. While Boeing has made considerable improvements to the basic design, the result is a comparable, rather than a more advanced, product when compared to the A320 family. For once, Boeing failed to leapfrog the competition in terms of overall performance capability and operating economics. However, Boeing was constrained by issues of commonality, issues that Airbus will face when it too decides to upgrade the A320 family. Either operators can have a material improvement in performance, or a measure of commonality can be maintained. Rarely can both demands be accommodated. The B737-800 overcomes the lacklustre performance of the -400 by offering much improved range and payload capability. The longer range of the -800 more matches the A320 family without incurring the need for extra fuel tanks. The low and high MTOWs still represent a significant difference in terms of payload range capability. Unlike the B737-400, it appears that increasing the MTOW of the -800 at a later date will represent a paper rather than structural change.
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