Airbus Airliner Spotting Guide


The A300 was the world's first twin-engined widebody airliner. It was also the first aircraft produced by Airbus Industrie, a consortium of European aerospace manufacturers, now a subsidiary of Airbus Group.

The basic fuselage of the A300 was later stretched into the Airbus A330 and A340, and shortened into the Airbus A310.

The Airbus A320 is a short-to-medium range, twin-engine, narrow-bodied airliner. It was launched in March of 1984, first flew in February of 1987, and was first delivered in March of 1988.

The A320 family was subsequently expanded to include the Airbus A321 (1994), the A319 (1996), and the A318 (2003). Deployment has begun on the A320neo (new engine option).

The Airbus A350 is the first Airbus composite aircraft with both fuselage and wing structures made primarily of carbon-fibre-reinforced polymer.

The double-decked Airbus A380 is the world’s largest commercial aircraft flying today, with the capacity to carry 544 passengers in a comfortable four-class configuration, and up to 853 in a single-class configuration that provides wider seats than its competitor.

With the wide variety of jet airliners serving the worldwide travel market today, identification of individual manufacturers and aircraft can be a bit tricky.

Included below is a quick and easy guide to spotting Airbus jet airliners of the day.

A Few Notable Airbus and Boeing Differences

The typical Airbus airliner's "rounded nose" and notched windshield
The typical Airbus airliner "rounded nose" design

The classic Boeing airliner "pointed nose" design
The classic Boeing airliner "pointed nose" design

Comparison of the typical Boeing wide-body tail structure (top) compared with a typical Airbus structure which has more of a straight alignment across the bottom of the tail
Comparison of typical Boeing wide-body tail structure (top) compared with a typical Airbus structure which has more of a straight alignment across the bottom of the tail


Airbus A300

The twin-engine, wide-body Airbus A300-600, shown here in American Airlines livery
See more Airbus 300 photographs and spotting tips
American Airlines Airbus A300-600


Airbus A310

Pan Am Airbus A310-324ET - N814PA
Note the two cabin doors (and one emergency exit door) along the side of the fuselage.
See more Airbus 310 photographs and spotting tips


Airbus A318

Air France Airbus A318
The smallest member of the A320 family
See more Airbus 318 photographs and spotting tips
Air France Airbus A318, the smallest member of the A320 family


Airbus A319

An Airbus A319-100 of Lufthansa ... note the two cabin doors, and single emergency exit door over the wing. The A320 has two emergency exit doors.
See more Airbus 319 photographs and spotting tips
Lufthansa Airbus A319-100


Airbus A320

Air France Airbus A320-200
See more Airbus 320 photographs and spotting tips
Air France Airbus A320-200


Airplane spotter's guide for the Airbus A319 and A320
The A319 has one emergency exit door over the wing, while the A320 has two exit doors over the wing.
Spotting guide for the Airbus A319 and A320



Airbus A321

The A321 has two engines under the wings, two dual-wheel main landing gear, four cabin doors along the fuselage, and the classic Airbus nose featuring the "notched" window.
The Airbus A321 has two engines under the wings, two dual-wheel main landing gear, four doors along the fuselage, and the classic Airbus nose featuring the "notched" window.


Side-by-side comparison of the
Airbus A321 (top) and the Boeing 757 (bottom). Note the differences in cabin windshield configuration. Also, the A321 has a 4-wheel main landing gear configuration, while the Boeing 757 has an 8-wheel main landing gear.
Side-by-side comparison of the Airbus A321 and the Boeing 757


Spotting and identification guide for the Airbus A320 family of jetliners:
A318, A319, A320 and A321
Spotting and identification guide for the Airbus A320 family of jetliners: A318, A319, A320 and A321


Airbus A330

Airbus A330 spotter's guide: notched windshield window, two engines (one under each wing), one passenger deck the length of the fuselage, main landing gear fall to the rear, and a straight fuselage under the tail structure. The A330 also features a "bulged" area under the center wing section, which the similar A300 does not.
Airbus A330 spotter


 

Shown in the graphic below is the main landing gear differences in the Airbus A330 (bottom) and Boeing 767 (top).

The main landing gear on the A330 lean to the rear while those on the Boeing 767 lean to the front.

Shown in the graphic below is the main landing gear differences in the Airbus A330 (bottom) and Boeing 767 (top).

The main landing gear on the A330 lean to the rear while those on the Boeing 767 lean to the front.


Airbus A330-200 of Avianca Airlines
See more Airbus 330 photographs and spotting tips
Airbus A330-200 of Avianca Airlines


Air Canada Alliance Airbus A330-343
See more Airbus 330 photographs and spotting tips
Air Canada Alliance Airbus A330-343


Airbus A340

If you spot a four-engine airliner that is not a Boeing 747 or an Airbus A380, then it is probably an Airbus A340.

The Airbus A340 is a single-deck, wide-body airliner, and features two engines under each wing, and three sets of main landing gears, one in the middle of the underside of the fuselage.

See more Airbus 340 photographs and spotting tips



Airbus A350

Qatar Airbus A350-941 with its twin engines under the wing, unique nose design and winglets
See more Airbus 350 photographs and spotting tips


Airbus A350 XWB showing its blended winglets


Cockpit windshield comparison of Airbus A350 (top) and Boeing 787 (below)
Cockpit windshield comparison of Airbus A350  and Boeing 787


Airbus A380

The A380 is easy to spot, with its two full-fuselage passenger decks, bulbous nose, and four engines. Shown here is an Emirates Airbus A380.
More about the Airbus 380
The A380 is easy to spot, with its two full-fuselage passenger decks and four engines. Shown here is an Emirates Airbus A380