Airbus A321 vs Boeing 757 | Performance | Range & Capacity

In the exciting world of airplanes, the Airbus A321 vs Boeing 757 are two stars of the sky, each with their own special talents. The A321 is a favorite for its money-saving fuel use and comfy seats, perfect for flights that aren’t too long. It can fly up to 5,950km, thanks to its strong yet fuel-efficient engines. On the other hand, the 757 stretches further and takes off with power, ready to tackle long trips and tricky airports with ease. When picking between them, it’s all about what you need most: the A321 is great for saving money and keeping cozy, while the 757 shines when you need to go far or land in challenging spots.

Airbus A321 vs Boeing 757

Airbus A321 vs Boeing 757
Airbus A321 vs Boeing 757

The Airbus A321 vs Boeing 757 is like comparing two sports stars, each with their unique strengths. The A321 shines in the arena of fuel efficiency and passenger comfort, ideal for those medium-haul sprints. It’s the eco-friendly choice, gliding smoothly up to 5,950km on engines that marry power with thriftiness. On the other side, the Boeing 757 is the long-distance runner, boasting unmatched range and the muscle to leap off shorter runways, thanks to its powerful engines. It’s the aircraft that doesn’t let any airport intimidate it, ready to go the distance. Choosing between them depends on the race you’re running: the A321 for a cost-effective, comfortable journey, or the 757 for reaching farther flung destinations with ease.

Airbus A321 vs Boeing 757

Airbus A321

Airbus A321
Airbus A321

The Airbus A321, the longest in the Airbus A320 family, comfortably seats 180 to 220 passengers in two classes or up to 244 in a high-density layout. Its wide cabin allows for 18-inch-wide seats, enhancing passenger comfort. The Airbus A321neo version introduces improved engines and aerodynamic wingtips, increasing fuel efficiency and extending its range up to 7400 km, ideal for long-haul flights. The cabin, equipped with the modern Airspace interior, offers spacious overhead bins, customizable lighting, and a quieter environment, making the A321 a top choice for single-aisle long-distance travel.

Airbus A321 Models

The Airbus A321LR, launched in 2018, extended its range to 4,000 nautical miles, leading the way in long-haul single-aisle flights. Following this, the A321XLR is set to debut in early 2024, aiming for a 15% longer range than the A321LR. This delay from its planned 2023 launch ensures it meets all safety standards. With significant interest from airlines like American, Delta, IndiGo, Wizz Air, and Qantas, the A321XLR is highly anticipated for its range capabilities.

The A321 series has evolved since 1994, from the A321-100ceo to the upcoming A321XLR. Meanwhile, the Boeing 757, which first flew 40 years ago and ended production in 2005, offered versatility with its 757-200 and 757-300 variants, still remembered for its performance despite no longer being produced.

Boeing 757

The Boeing 757, first taking to the skies about 40 years ago and ending its production run in 2005, has been a versatile and dependable workhorse for airlines worldwide. It was available mainly in two versions: the 757-200 and the larger Boeing 757-300, with the Boeing 757-200 also being adapted into freighter and convertible models to meet various aviation needs.

Boeing 757
Boeing 757

Highly valued by major U.S. airlines, Europe, and cargo operators, the 757 shone on both short and mid-range flights, including coast-to-coast routes in the U.S. It earned a special nod in 1986 when it was certified for ETOPS operations, allowing it to fly routes over oceans. Despite no longer being produced, the 757 is still highly regarded for its strong takeoff performance and capability to fly from shorter runways, features that set it apart from others in its class. Today, the Boeing 757 continues to connect cities around the globe, showcasing its lasting impact on the aviation industry with its unique blend of reliability and performance.

The 757 variants are listed below:

Boeing 757 Variants

Airbus A321 vs Boeing 757 Engines

The Airbus A321 vs Boeing 757 are two aircraft that, at first glance, serve similar roles but have distinct features setting them apart. The A321, with options for engines from either IAE or CFM International, boasts a thrust range between 133.4kN and 139.7kN. This power allows it to cruise at speeds up to 903km/h and cover distances up to 5,950km, making it ideal for medium-haul routes. On the other hand, the Boeing 757 comes equipped with more powerful Rolls-Royce RB211 or Pratt & Whitney PW2000 engines, offering a thrust of 163–193 kN and supporting a heavier takeoff weight.

Additionally, the 757 features a supercritical wing design that reduces drag, enhancing its efficiency over longer distances. While both planes are celebrated for their reliability and performance, the A321 is often chosen for its fuel efficiency and lower operational costs on shorter routes, whereas the 757 is favored for its range, payload, and ability to operate from a variety of airport conditions, including shorter runways.

Airbus A321 Engine

The Airbus A321 is powered by either CFM56 or IAE V2500 engines. These engines are known for their reliability and efficiency, providing the power needed for the A321 to perform its short to medium-haul flights efficiently.

Boeing 757 Engine

The Boeing 757, on the other hand, uses Rolls-Royce RB211 or Pratt & Whitney PW2000 engines. These engines are powerful and have been praised for their performance over the years, especially for the 757’s ability to take off from shorter runways and its performance at high altitudes.

Airbus A321 vs Boeing 757 Customers and Orders

As of the end of JAN 2024, the top 3 customers for each aircraft variant are as follows:

As of Jan 2024, Airbus has received a total of 6,307 orders for the A321 aircraft, with 2,589, or 41%, already delivered to customers. This indicates a large backlog, especially for the A321neo variant, with less than 20% of its orders fulfilled so far.

The distribution of orders between the A321ceo and A321neo up to Jan 2024 can be summarized as follows:

Airbus A321 vs Boeing 757 Orders %

The leading customers for these variants highlight the popularity of the A321neo with low-cost carriers:

Airbus A321 vs Boeing 757 Top Customers

Low-cost airlines dominate the top spots for the A321neo, emphasizing its appeal in that sector.

Comparatively, the Boeing 757 received a total of 1,050 orders, with the 757-200 variant making up 87% of these. The 757 has been a favorite among large US carriers, offering flexibility for domestic routes and the capability for transatlantic and intercontinental flights, thanks to its ETOPS certification. Delta and American Airlines are the most significant operators of the 757 today.

Airbus A321 vs Boeing 757 Dimensions

When comparing the Airbus A321 vs Boeing 757 models in terms of dimensions, several interesting differences emerge. The A321ceo, with its length of 44.51 meters, is shorter than both the Boeing 757-200 and 757-300 models, which measure 47.3 meters and 54.4 meters respectively, indicating the 757’s larger overall size. The wingspan of the A321ceo is 35.80 meters, slightly less than the 757’s 38 meters, giving the Boeing aircraft a slight edge in aerodynamic efficiency and lift.

Airbus A321 vs Boeing 757 Dimensions

The tail height of the A321ceo stands at 11.76 meters, which is lower than the Boeing 757’s 13.6 meters, reflecting the 757’s taller stance. Interestingly, the A321ceo has a slightly wider fuselage at 3.95 meters compared to the 757’s 3.76 meters, potentially offering more cabin width. In terms of Maximum Takeoff Weight (MTOW), the A321ceo is lighter at 93.50 tonnes compared to the 757-200 and 757-300 which are at 115.66 tonnes and 123.83 tonnes respectively, highlighting the 757’s capability to carry more weight, likely due to its larger size and engine power.

Airbus A321 vs Boeing 757 Performance & Range

In range comparison, the Boeing 757-200 extends its reach to 3,850 nautical miles, slightly outpacing the A321ceo and neo variants but falling short of the A321XLR’s range. The 757-300, designed for capacity over distance, offers a range of 3,395 nautical miles. Initially intended for short- to mid-range routes, the 757’s ETOPS certification in 1986 expanded its capabilities to include intercontinental flights, notably across the Atlantic, enhancing its appeal to airlines.

Airbus A321 vs Boeing 757 Performance & Range

The Airbus A321 series and Boeing 757 models bring diverse capabilities to long-haul flights, each with their own strengths in range. The A321ceo starts the lineup with a range of 3,200 nautical miles, which is enhanced in the A321neo up to 4,000 nautical miles, thanks to its Long Range (LR) version. Pushing the boundaries further, the A321XLR is set to revolutionize narrow body travel with an impressive range of 4,700 nautical miles, making 11-hour flights possible and opening new direct route opportunities.

Since 2004 for the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and 2006 for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), all A321 variants have been certified for Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards (ETOPS) for 180 minutes, ensuring they can safely operate routes far from the nearest airport.

Airbus A321 vs Boeing 757 Seating Capacity Comparison

The Airbus A321 and Boeing 757 planes can hold different numbers of passengers because airlines can choose how the inside looks. The Airbus A321 comes in two types, one with older engines (ceo) and one with newer engines that can fly farther (neo/XLR). Usually, the A321 can fit 170 to 220 people if there are two types of seats (like first class and economy), but the newest version can have up to 244 seats.

Airlines can set up the A321 in many ways, from one type of seat for everyone to four different types of seats, including really fancy ones with beds. Depending on the setup, there can be 200 to 239 seats if it’s all one class, or different numbers if there are up to four types of seats.

Here’s a simplified comparison table of seating capacities:

Airbus A321 vs Boeing 757 Seating Capacity Comparison

The Boeing 757 comes in -200 and -300 models, carrying 180 to 240+ passengers. Airlines can arrange seats in many ways, from a packed single class to a roomy three-class layout. The 757-300 can hold more people because it’s longer.


The Airbus A321 and Boeing 757 are flexible airplanes that airlines can customize to fit different numbers of passengers. The A321 can seat between 170 to 244 people, depending on the model and layout, offering anything from a single-class to a luxurious four-class cabin. The Boeing 757, available in -200 and -300 models, carries 180 to over 240 passengers with options ranging from a dense single-class to a spacious three-class configuration. The 757-300’s longer body allows it to accommodate more passengers, showcasing the adaptability of these aircraft to meet various airline and route needs.


What are the main differences between the Airbus A321 vs Boeing 757?

The Airbus A321 and Boeing 757 differ primarily in design, capacity, and range. The A321 offers a variety of configurations, seating between 170 to 244 passengers with newer engine options for extended range. The Boeing 757, known for its versatility, can accommodate 180 to over 240 passengers across its -200 and -300 models, with the -300 having a longer fuselage.

Can the Airbus A321 and Boeing 757 be configured in different class layouts?

Yes, both aircraft can be customized in various class layouts. The A321 can be arranged from a single-class up to a luxurious four-class cabin. The Boeing 757 offers configurations from a dense single-class to a more spacious three-class layout.

Which model has a longer range, the Airbus A321 vs Boeing 757?

The Airbus A321neo/XLR variant is designed for longer ranges, competing closely with the Boeing 757’s range capabilities. The A321neo/XLR can fly longer routes thanks to its new engine options and fuel efficiency.

Can the Boeing 757 carry more passengers than the Airbus A321?

The maximum capacity varies closely, with the A321neo/XLR able to seat up to 244 passengers and the Boeing 757-300 model accommodating over 240 passengers. The exact number depends on the airline’s chosen configuration.

How do airlines decide between the Airbus A321 vs Boeing 757?

Airlines consider factors such as route length, passenger demand, and operational costs. The A321’s fuel efficiency and lower operational costs make it attractive for short to medium-haul routes, while the 757’s range and capacity are advantageous for longer routes and high-demand flights.

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