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What Do The Last Three Digits Of Airbus & Boeing mean?

by Visnu

Every manufacturer has their own version of naming and modeling their planes. For an instance Airbus starts of their Model with ”A” while Boeing starts off their models with “B”.

Every plane has their own specification. So the post for today will be divided into 2 of the largest commercial plane manafacturers; Airbus & Boeing. As they have conquered the skies for the past decades.


Airbus started off their first aircraft models from the A300 series. The first A300 started flying in 1972 followed by A220,A310, A318,A319,A320,A330,A340,A350,A380 but question often rises why Airbus didn’t name A360 or A370. There is nothing superstitious about it as Airbus has reserved those names in case they manufacture an aircraft in between the range of A350 & A380. Among these series they can also be divided into Current Engine Option (CEO) & New Engine Option ( NEO) with more fuel saving engineering.

All these A310, A320, A330 & etc are just the series and it can be more specified by adding three more digits of numbers at the back of the models. For an Example A320-241

What does that 241 means

First digit = Series
Second digit = Engine type
Third digit = Engine variant

The code is 2 for series 200, 4 for Rolls Royce and Engine 1 Version

Air Asia mostly uses Airbus A320-214

Where they commonly use CFM 56 engines for their aircaft , well it is clear that 2 is the engine series, 1 stands for CFM Engines and 4 is the version. This is how airbus names their aircraft and easy for spotter to identify types of aircraft.

Engine Codes
Code = Manufacturing company
0 = General Electric (GE)
1 = CFM International (GE and SNECMA, now a subsidiary of Safran)
2 = Pratt & Whitney (P&W)
3 = International Aero Engines (P&W, R-R, MTU, Kawasaki, Mitsubishi, and IHI)
4 = Rolls-Royce (R-R)
5 = CFM International (GE and SNECMA/Safran) (CFM International LEAP-1A for A320             NEO Family)
6 = Engine Alliance (GE and P&W)
7 = Pratt & Whitney (P&W) (Pratt & Whitney PW1100G for A320 NEO)


How are commercial boeing planes named? Do they follow the same method as Airbus?

The answer is no, Airbus and Boeing are two highly competitive companies and sure they are not going to be identical in terms of manufacturing. We know that Airbus incorporates Aircraft series plus the engine specifications.

For Boeing they incorporate their customers ID.

Boeing names their aircraft as 7X7-ABC (e.g. Boeing 747-400) where ABC is any three digit number.
Now, what is the mystery of that ABC?
Actually, that ABC is Boeing’s Customer code.
The code 1 is for the series of the aircraft while the last 2 digits stands for their customer ID. Thus the 21 stands for Pan Am
Therefore the 747-121 is sold to Pan Am
 Malaysia Airline Customer Code is H6
Examples: 737-8H6 , 737-1H6

The whole chart for the Customer ID is listed here: https://pilotvisnu.com/boeing-customer-id/

Hope now you understood how Boeing & Airbus commercial aircraft are named! If you like this article please share this post!

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