Chicago: Boeing Co started a year later than its European rival Airbus in a race to overhaul the $2 trillion (Dh7.35 trillion) narrowbody aircraft market, and is fighting hard to restore balance to their tense duopoly.

With Boeing's announcement last week that it has a launch customer — Southwest Airlines — for its upcoming 737 MAX, the two planemakers have officially squared off in the competition to make the best — and best-selling — narrowbody aircraft: the upcoming MAX vs the upcoming Airbus a320neo.

The two aeroplane families feature new engines in their current designs. Both planemakers boast superior efficiency, and with Boeing's announcement on Tuesday of the list prices and a better understanding of the capabilities of the three models of its 737 MAX, the company will have an easier time converting its 948 commitments from customers to firm orders. "We are in a position to start firming up the 948 commitments we have so far and continue to meet Airbus in different campaigns around the world," Boeing Commercial Airplanes Chief Executive Jim Albaugh told Reuters on Tuesday.

"We got off to a little later start than they did, but I think we've done very well in the four months since we launched the aeroplane," he said.

Albaugh said Boeing has done enough work on the aeroplane's configuration to make performance guarantees.