747-8 vs A380 costs: airlines weigh in

In the ever-present back-and-forth between Boeing and Airbus about the costs of the 747-8 vs. A380, each company claims its airplane has lower costs.

Boeing claims the 747-8 has double-digit lower costs, to which Airbus indignantly says Boeing–not to put too fine a point on it–is lying. Airbus is unusally blunt on this topic.

Well, two airlines weighed in within days of each other.

Emirates Airlines says the A380 has 16% lower costs than the 747-8, as reported in this article from Business Week. Emirates has ordered the A380 and the 747-8F.

Lufthansa, which has ordered both the A380 and 747-8, concludes the A380 burns less fuel per 100 passenger kilometers, though the figure is 3% lower on a litre-per-passenger kilometer basis.

Source: Lufthansa artwork

When Airbus and Boeing go at each other, we’re skeptical of the the information provide for the obvious reasons. When a third party, like an airline, especially one that has ordered both airplanes, comes up with answers, we are more impressed.

Here is what Airbus presented in May at its Innovation Days.

Boeing has in the past and continues to make its case the 747-8 has lower costs than the A380. Here is Boeing’s slide about fuel burn per seat:

Thus, we now have back-to-back Airbus and Boeing slides; a news report from Emirates; and Lufthansa’s own analysis.

We report. You decide. Or so they say.

58 Comments on “747-8 vs A380 costs: airlines weigh in

  1. 16% would bring it almost in line with a B744…..I’m skeptical on that amount.

    I’ll take LH’s number with more credibility-they put their money with their mouth is with their 20+20 B748I order.

    Dont’ forget, LH also has different configurations/route specifications for both the A380 and B748I-that might change the calculations as well.

    Also, what about freight? IIRC, freight isn’t one of the stronger points on the A380.

    In fact, I did a quick study on freight data from SYD-LAX for 2009…while I didn’t include VAustralia’s B77W’, I did compare some planes: A380/B744 (UA) and B77L (DL) data. Pax load factors were actually almost the same (low to mid 80% range) but DL’s B77L hauled MUCH more freight than either the B744 or A380. Now some of it might do with contracts, ect. but the numbers were quite interesting…

    • Did you notice how this article states Emirates Airlines? – They dont own a single 747-800 as of yet……… Not even for their Cargo services…….

  2. Did anyone look at the number of seats per aircraft in the Airbus chart?

    They list the A-380-800 at 525 seats, in reality it is 500.

    They list the B-747-400 at 370 seats, it is really 416.

    They list the B-747-8I at 405 seats, in reality it is 467.

    They list the B-777-300ER at 305 seats, it is really 355.

    So, Airbus has skewed the numbers by lowering the number of seats in Boeing aircraft and raising the number of seats in the A-380.

    So, who is lieing?

    Boeing’s chart is more accurate, except it shows an increase in A-380 seats to 555. If they use the in reality configueration of 500 seats, the gap between the fuel burn by seat/mile increases.

    How can EK compare the B-747-8F to the A-380-800? They do different missions.

    LH may be closer, but the B-747-8I has not flown yet, so real world numbers are not avaiable yet. Additionally, LH doesn’t have many A-380s in revenue service yet to be able to get a base line for comparison.

    • You have it assbackwards.

      LH gave data based on _their_ seating configurations.

      Boeing inflated 747 seatcounts while they assumed the
      regular number of seats for the 380.
      Scaling seatdensity as given for the 744 would translate
      into about 620 seats for the A380.

    • LH A388=526pax, LH B744=378pax (max; Boeing says 416 – all B748 TBA)
      So Boeing has skewed the numbers just like Airbus; here’s a bit of wisdom: “When Airbus and Boeing go at each other, we’re skeptical of the the information provide for the obvious reasons”

      Both Boeing and Airbus tend to increase their seat numbers in their corporate propaganda. Best to generally disbelieve whatever either claims unless it’s supported by trustworthy sources (leehamnews).

      How can anyone quote seat numbers for the 747-8i when both customers have not yet announced their layout.

  3. It’s hard to really judge this with different configurations… Boeing has their 747-8I at 467 seats, while Airbus has it configured at 405 seats: this alone would make a big swing either way. There’s a similar discrepancy with the A380 although not as large.

  4. I take Air Bus chart with a pinch of salt. The denominator as pointed out in earlier comments drives the per seat fuel rate.
    I would say, once the novelty of the super jumbo wears off, -8 will be as good as 380.
    You have to look at it on per trip fuel as well as per passenger miles.In very high density routes, 380 has obvious scale advantage. The airlines’ trade offs will drive their decision to choose between 380 and -8.
    I still think, it was a good strategic move on Boeing to come up with -8 passenger , which keeps the 380 bleeding for years to come.

  5. How is the amount of freight carried by the 747 incorporated into these calculations?

    That is, shouldn’t the freight carried be an offset to the cost of the flight and estimated fuel consumption/passenger.

  6. I have the A380 cabin area at 478m2 and the 747-8 at about 370m2 (“the 747-8 gives you 50m2 more than the 747-400” – all Wikipedia figures). So at the same density, 525 seats on the A380 becomes 406 on the 747-8. This is spot on with the Airbus figure and a huge 60 seats less than the Boeing figure.

    In this case, Airbus looks to be correct. Of course airlines are running the A380 at unusually low densities, presumably preferring to make more money on their premium seats. I suspect this won’t last.

    • Sorry, I didn’t notice Boeing had 555 seats for the A380, not 525. Boeing are out by 35 seats, not 60, for the same density

    • “In this case, Airbus looks to be correct. Of course airlines are running the A380 at unusually low densities, presumably preferring to make more money on their premium seats. I suspect this won’t last.”

      Depends on which airline. Airbus standard = 525; LH = 526; AF = 538 (numbers from seatguru.com).

      As for the seat density of the 773ER: Cathay 303; Quatar: 335; Singapore: 278; Turkish Airlines 310. Conscious selection to show how low the numbers can go in a modern 3-class seating including 1st. Once you drop first you can of course squeeze more in. The same is true for the A380. But it is clear that Airbus is not lieing, but rather taking real-world densities for top-tier airways on trunk routes (not holiday destinations). Which is more than can be said for Boeing with its 467 seats for the 748i.

  7. Interesting, that some points have not been discussed in the comments:
    – the route network and business model influence the cost baseline for operating aircraft. So different airlines can reach different conclusions on what ist the right aircraft, and contrast with the manufacuteres, that use theortical data
    – Emirates speaks of cost advantage, while most comments focus on fuel and amount of pax. Mentioning cargo is the right direction, but total cost of operation also includes crew, maintenance, cost for a stand at an airport and more. Only Emirates knows the basis for that calculation, but I would assume that for their network, they based the calculation on the same assumptions for their assessment, using the same load factor and compareable configruations.
    – BA said it was very close between the -8 and the A380. Given that they need to invest in upgrading their hangars, this should give a slight edge for the A380. If it would have been as significant as for Emirates, they would not have thought twice. It could be that BAs network, cost structure and cargo business does not give as much adavantge to the a380 as Emirates’
    – LH only shows fuel in the slides. Obviously, they feel they can make money with the -8, even with the added complexity of operating a mixed fleet. So again the route network and the way of doing business (having stated that they like the idea of swithing the two depending on seasonal traffic) influence the economy of the the planes they fly.

    • The article was about fuel costs per passenger km and the comments reflect this. On overall costs, I don’t have hard figures, but all the indications are that airlines which run the A380 and have suitable routes for them are more than happy with the way the aircraft has panned out.

      The 747-8 isn’t getting any traction as a passenger aircraft even with airlines that currently run the 747. Which suggests that it doesn’t really stack up. As a freighter, it’s a different story. I was wondering why Lufthansa should be interested in the 748-8 passenger craft when it seems no-one else is. I then read that Lufthansa stress the ability to convert their passenger planes to freighters later in life. So maybe that has something to do with it.

      By the way, the choice isn’t necessarily between the A380 and the 747-8. Most airlines that think the A380 is too much plane for them shift down to the 777-300ER instead.

  8. @Flystar:

    “Interesting, that some points have not been discussed in the comments:
    – the route network and business model influence the cost baseline for operating aircraft.”

    I did indeed mention it-albeit a bit briefly..

    “Dont’ forget, LH also has different configurations/route specifications for both the A380 and B748I-that might change the calculations as well. “

    • I assume LH negotiated favorable terms for its 747-8 contract, and most probably they will have the right to convert at least some of the options, maybe some of the orders to frighters, in addition to the technical possibility to do a P2F conversion later in the life of the plane.

      If someone vaguely remembers, LH hat orders for 25 A310s out, and never took all of them, and they were phased only after a few years. And quietly. I never found a referance as to why it was that rapid. However, FedEx seems to be very happy with their converted A310s. This makes the case were the requirements of a carrier match the capabilities of an aircraft that does not seem – in case of the A310 P2F – make sense for many more.

      For the 777-300ER – maybe the largest threat to the 747-8 is a strech to the -300ER that has been proposed several times.

  9. Sorry but in the article, I read 12% lower costs for the A380 compared to the 747-8, not 16%. And contrary to FF2’s assertion, I trust this is a total cost, not only fuel cost per passenger mile. That could have much to do with the fact that Lufthansa and Emirates have different numbers. Further “fuel” for thought; Emirates has 489 seats on their A380, whereas Lufthansa has 538. Interesting, don’t you think!?
    The fact that Lufthansa has ordered both A380 and 747-8 would lead one to conclude that Lufthansa intensions for these 2 models are to complement one another, not compete against one another.
    I find some people like to make things so complicated when it doesn’t really need to be so.

    • The Boeing figures imply an 11% per seat fuel advantage to the 747-8. With the seat count adjustment this comes down to 2%. Airbus claims an 8% advantage to the A380. Faced with conflicting stories from aircraft manufacturers, we might decide to split the difference, which gives us the unscientific figure of 3% advantage to the A380. Coincidentally this is the same as Lufhansa’s figure.

      We’re talking just about fuel burn. On overall operating costs, I would expect the A380 to have a bigger advantage again over the new 747. Fixed costs are spread over more passengers and the more modern aircraft may also be more maintenance friendly. This leaves aside two very important costs, though: how much you paid for the aircraft in the first place and depreciation.

      Beyond this, the A380 has the advantage of a more comfortable and useful upper cabin. On the other hand, the 747 has fewer seats to fill and can carry more freight. The 747’s problem is that the 777-300ER has the same advantages relative to the A380, but to a greater extent. But for Boeing as a company it doesn’t matter: the 777 is their plane too.

      • “The article was about fuel costs per passenger km and the comments reflect this.”

        Err… No.

        From the article: “To bolster its all-widebody fleet, it’s adding 90 Airbus A380 superjumbo jets with 45,000 seats and OPERATING costs 12 percent lower than rival Boeing’s (BA) latest 747.” (emphasis by me)

        Fuel cost is one aspect, but IIUC it only accounts for 30-40% of total operating costs, depending on fuel price levels. So a 3% advantage in fuel burn at the upper end is a 1.2% advantage in total cost. It is an especially meaningless number of the planes have very different seat and cargo capacities, and I do not expect any rational airline to base its purchase decisions on fuel cost alone.

        “We’re talking just about fuel burn. ”

        No, some people are. Others are talking about total operating costs.

        Note that the Emirates 12% advantage could of course also be driven by the high expected numbers of A380 in the fleet, compared to an expected lower number of 748i had they purchased them.

      • Sorry, by “article”, I was referring to Leeham’s post. The Business Week article about Emirates backs up my supposition that airlines owning A380’s can make substantial savings by spreading fixed costs over more passengers. Or put another way, obtaining a competitive advantage by using fewer aircraft to transport a set number of passengers.

  10. Well, of course, the usual sentiment… ‘EADS are lying’, while Boeing presents the truth, by the usual suspect. While most have concentrated on the seat count comparison, to get the 10% difference, in Boeing’s view, between 748I and the A380, they had to mark up several parameters including A380’s OEW, fuel burn and ignore the weight growth of the 748I itself. The 16% figure against the 744 was used back in 2007, so I struggle to believe that this figure had remained intact bearing in mind Boeings weight problems on the 748I.
    But let’s add another quote from the CEO of SIA at the end of 2007: “In seat-mile terms we achieve overall a 20% better fuel burn than our 747-400s”. Rather than the manufacturers, who will do everything to promote their products, I would trust the airlines themselves.

  11. UKair stated:

    “I would trust the airlines themselves.”

    That is why I think I’m going with LH..they have ordered both…:-)

  12. KC135TopBoom

    Airbus actually originally had their A380 down for 555 seats, 22 first seat with 68″ pitch, 96 business at 48″ seat pitch, and 437 economy 32″ seat pitch.

    When it came to doing the route proving, they said it was bullocks to use a seat pitch of 48″ for business these days, so they went for a 60″ business seat pitch, that made the A380 a 525 seat aircraft. 10 F @ 68″, 76 J @ 60″, an 439 Y @ 32″. That was the first passenger configuration that actually flew, I flew on that aircraft.

    Boeing in their marketing configurations use a seat pitch of 60″ for first, 38″ for business, and 32″ for economy. That is how they get 467 people on a 747-8i, but that is not realistic these days. Lufthansa currently use a 92” seat for first class, and 60” for business.

    All Airbus has done is to use a more realistic seat pitch for first (68″ vs 60″) and business (60″ vs 38″), economy remains unchanged.

    If you can show me an airline that currently flies a 747 long haul with a 60″ first class and 38″ business class I would be very surprised, in fact I do not think they exist, it is Boeing that is lying as usual.

    • just want to point out that post wasn’t mine, despite the name similarity…
      And Airbus lies just as much as Boeing

  13. How Do Airlines Calculate Their Costs ?
    Usually they calculate total cost of ownership of an aircraft (acquisition cost + license-, maintenance- and insurance-costs over the life time of the aircraft + repair costs) and fuel costs over the life time of an aircraft. From this they derive the average cost per passenger mile, which takes into account, that the airplanes usally are not filled to capacity, and that a certain percentage of flights cannot be carried out as scheduled due to weather conditions and so on. Fuel consumption is by far the most expensive post in the calculation, much higher than even the acquisition costs of an aircraft.
    If Boeing advertises the 747-8 as an inexpensive alternative to the A380, passenger airline companies most probably won’t care a lot. In their calculation only the cost per passenger-mile counts. Thus they usually will favor the A380 over the 747-8. Only if the backlog of the A380 production should get too long, airline companies will look for an alternative, to get their aircraft into service within a useful amount of time.

  14. Assuming that Lufthansa’s numbers are right, a 3% advantage for A380 isn’t too bad for Boeing considering the age of the 747’s overall design. Close enough to the point where airlines can select on or the other depending on the expected passenger loads for the routes involved. Arguably, they’re not even direct competitors.

  15. a) Well if the 380 has a 95% + load factor, I hope it is the lowest cost plane. But what happens when the route can support a 748I at 95% but the 380 is at 80%. Then the numbers would be quite different.

    b) As EK probably got close to the best pricing on the 380’s but Boeing probably didn’t provide the big volume discount there would be a big difference in capitol costs.

    • a) If the route can support a 748i at an average of 95%, on a vast number of flights you’d be leaving potentially paying passengers behind for your competitors to pick up. If that’s a winning strategy in the airline business I don’t know, but I have my doubts.

      b) quite likely. While I’m not an expert, I can not imagine how a 16% advantage could be achieved without taking scale economies into account, both in terms of purchase price, but also pilot training and maintenance. If that were not the case, nobody would go near the 748i. But for LH and Korean with their much smaller A380 fleets it seems to make sense to get the 748i.

  16. One would assume that actual aircraft orders would reflect a given types operational economics, that said the 747-8i ailing order book would seem to confirm the types cost effective weakness.

    Lufthansa decision to run a mixed fleet new of heavy & super heavy types does beg the question why?

    Having received almost comprehensive rejection by all potential carriers Boeing are holding onto only one valued passenger order, any potential cancellation of this order would effectively seal the types commercial fate.

    Make no mistake Boeing will move heaven & earth in an endeavour to keep its Lufthansa order in what appears to the vain hope that the type might gain more.

    • Lufthansa seems to take “type granularity” seriously.
      I have no idea if a wide inhouse type coverage is something
      that Lufthansa Technik would find usefull.

  17. Boeing has Korean Airlines as a B748I customer as well. Not to mention BA was within 2 weeks away from ordering the B748I. It took some last-minute maneuvering from Airbus/Rolls Royce to get the BA deal…

    Boeing is going to be a little bit more reticent in pricing of the B748I given that the B748F is selling well-well enough at least.

    • “BA was within 2 weeks away from ordering the B748I. It took some last-minute maneuvering from Airbus/Rolls Royce to get the BA deal…”

      Sorry Jacobin but I have not been able to buy this argument, ever since I saw this myth on the a.net. I hope (and it is a hope indeed) that the purchase decisions are driven by the airline expansion and consolidation strategy. I really find it hard to believe that BA were on the verge of ordering the 748I, only to rip up their plans in the face of a few extra $m/unit and instead face bigger bills for crew training, facility investment, maintenance costs and moreover creating capacity, which their plans will not support! No self respecting airline will do that. The scenario I will find plausible, on the other hand, is that BA did actually chose the A380, which drove Boeing to make Willie Walsh an offer of a lifetime. Being a businessman, WW turned to John Leahy to say: ‘Listen mate, Boeing just came back with a fantastic offer and you don’t expect me to ignore that, do you’? The rest is history.

  18. I attended the BA shareholder meeting in 2009 An open question from a fellow shareholder questioned the reasoning by the board to purchase the 380 instead of the 7478i no mention of a close run race was made, quite the contrary as the CEO (I think) went onto extol the numerous vertues the Airbus product offered BA Firstly the 380 was seen as a better fit for BA’s route network he then went into some detail about the types improved economy compared to the 747 8i & how that would impact on BA & its shareholders, finally concluding with the 380’s superior cabin environment.

    Having flown SIA 380 several times on the kangaroo route I can endorse the cabin experience claim, no aircraft compares.

    For whatever reason the BA boards decision to run with Airbus was a bitter pill for Boeing to swallow in its 7478i asperations.

  19. They are going to spend billions on the A380, of course they are to extol the virtues of the plane. “Superior cabin environment”? What’s that about? The B748I hasn’t flown yet.

    While the A380 will be probably quieter than the B787 or A350, the latter planes will provide better humidity, cabin pressure, etc.

    • “They are going to spend billions on the A380, of course they are to extol the virtues of the plane.”

      You can say that about any order, including a 748I one but it does not prove the myth.

      “While the A380 will be probably quieter than the B787 or A350, the latter planes will provide better humidity, cabin pressure”

      The lowest cabin altitude of any airliner either already flying or in current development is the A380, designed to maintain a cabin altitude of 1,520 m (5,000 ft).

    • So is there some (any) support for the claim that BA was ‘two weeks away from ordering the 748i’?

      What do the 787 or A350 have to do with this? If BA is buying a VLA, there are two on offer. One, according to the customer has a superior cabin environment. They weren’t comparing the 787 or A350. I am reasonably certain that cabin environment is something that is being looked into by companies, and I am reasonably certain they can make a judgement based on the numbers provided, without any need for the plane to actually fly. For example, I would never get onto an A340 again for a Europe/Far East flight if a 777, 747, or A380 is available for the same leg. Purely because of cabin environment in C on Cathay that I experienced (suffered).

      It seems hard to accept for you that the A380 may have beaten the 748i on merit in what was probably one of the most important contests, but maybe just give it a try. 😉

  20. I was at the meeting & your last minute manoeuvring by Boeing seems a complete nonsense. As a BA shareholder I am delighted to see BA being run as a going concern within competition maelstrom & no longer as a hopeless goverment qwango.

    What the 380 superior cabin environment is about, is just that…. As ecplained currently no cabin compares to the one offered by the 380

    I’ll comment on the 7478i as & when it flys, but like so many I don’t often fly Lufthansa.

  21. @Phil:

    You were at the meeting of their decisions when they decided between the A380 and B748i and the A350 and B77? I’m EXTREMELY skeptical on it. I’m calling “b.s.” on this one.

    I was however on a 1-1 meeting with one of the senior executives of BA.

    We had some lengthy discussions regarding ATI (before any governmental approval), where the A380 were going to be sent to, about the potential of the merged BA/IB..and a whole sort of other items. We even talked about Sir Rod Eddington, etc.

    You can also find some articles either on flightglobal or ATW regarding the battle between the A380 and B748i-especially at the time of the decision.

    Regarding cabin pressure:
    “The 787 cabin will be kept at a higher pressure than other planes. The air onboard traditional planes is thinner than on the ground. It is equivalent to being at about an 8,000-foot elevation. The stronger composite body of the 787 allows a higher cabin pressure, roughly the equivalent of a 6,000-foot elevation. According to Boeing, this will leave passengers less tired after a flight.”


    IIRC, the A350XWB will match it as well.

    Regarding extolling of any plane-of course its obvious, hence why I didn’t mention BA hyping their A380 nor any other carrier hyping their order for any other plane. Its called “common sense”….what carrier is going to make a multi-billion $ order and then say “uh oh”?


    “It seems hard to accept for you that the A380 may have beaten the 748i on merit in what was probably one of the most important contests, but maybe just give it a try”

    Sure, if that’s what you believe you can believe that…after all, countless people believed the earth was flat, even in the face of scientific facts…:-)

    • Cabin altitute:
      it is well known that the Dreamliner will cruise at 6000′ cabin altitude.
      Enough Boeing fanpersons have made this “Boeing first” point in a most
      tiring way.

      Nonetheless the A380 provides 5000′ cabin altitude albeit not in a
      fully plastic tube airliner. Another of those cordial missrepresentations
      Boeing releases onto the world.

      Look at the fine print Luke!

    • ““It seems hard to accept for you that the A380 may have beaten the 748i on merit in what was probably one of the most important contests, but maybe just give it a try”

      Sure, if that’s what you believe you can believe that…after all, countless people believed the earth was flat, even in the face of scientific facts…:-)”

      And it appears one of those works for Boeing as a senior exec. 😉 Seriously, not exactly an unbiased source, wouldn’t you agree? And I’m not implying he was lying or making stuff up, but organisations have a habit of warping the world view of people who work in them.

      I think Phil referred to the shareholder meeting, not an executive decision meeting, by the way.

    • Thank you Andreas,

      I thought it obvious, but perhaps I should have reaffirmed that the meeting I attended was BA’s annual shareholder bash for Jacobin.

    • “I was however on a 1-1 meeting with one of the senior executives of BA.”

      Impressive but we are nowhere near proving the last minute change of heart by BA. The reason, I am very skeptical is because I refuse to believe that BA would jeopardise their future strategy and order something they did not need, creating unsustainable capacity only because of a “last-minute maneuvering from Airbus/Rolls Royce”. Sometimes one has to accept that maybe, just maybe, an airline ordered a plane that best suited their needs.

  22. @Ewe:

    I really don’t care about “Boeing cheerleaders” or “Airbus Cheerleaders”…the point was about the B787 and A350 against the A380 regarding cabin pressure, humidity, ect……last I recalled, the A350 was being built by Airbus….

    • I wanted to point out that your reply @UKair: Regarding cabin pressure:
      is a copy/paste from Boeing and doesn’t reflect historic ordering nor
      design advantages.

      A340 cruises @ 7350′, B777 @ ~7200′ as a reference, the comparative value usually provided is 8000′ ( does that maybe fit for the 767? )

      Airbus designed the A380 for 5000′ and follows up with the A350 at well below 6000′ ( prelim. data ).
      After the A380 but before the A350 Boeing announced a 6000′ cabin altitude as a “plastic tube” airliner first.
      But neither is the barrel construction a prerequisite nor is it a commerical airliner first.
      And my guess is that Airbus follows its own lead than any imagined Boeing technology lead.

  23. @Ewe…

    Unlike you, I dont play “koolaiding”…..it ostensibly seems you can’t do that. I never once stated Airbus follows Boeing lead, etc. My comment was regarding the B787/A350 versus A380…..

    I also didn’t mention just cabin pressure, but higher humidity as well.

    • Leaving drinks aside what did you actually try to convene then in your reply to UKair?
      On humidity:
      The sytems provided seem to consist of complementary installations of humidifier (cabin air) and dehumidifier ( crown ), look for keywords CTT CAIR.
      This touches on LH planes but covers the topic rather impartially.
      Independent of the building material of the hull you have to avoid condensation in the space behind the outer skin. Lots of different materials with differeing electronegativity, wiring, insulation. All these do not take kindly to condensation.

      So my impression is that cabin altitude and humidity levels are not tightly coupled.
      For the higher cabin pressure you need strutural strength and fatique life.

      For higher humidity you need condensation units that dry the cabin air that diffuses into the crown and would from there continue to diffuse to the colder
      spaces just behind the skin ( cooling, condensing ).

      My impression:
      Creature comfort seems to have been improved all the time with cabin pressure
      rising with each new airliner type introduced. No step changes there.
      CTT Systems humidity management solution ( or similar) seems to be available from the A380 onwards but excluding the 747-8i, ( I could not find any reference there ) and it may not be available for all classes ( LH : first only )

    • “My comment was regarding the B787/A350 versus A380…..”

      None of which are flying in passenger service, none of which are a VLA. So what has that got to do with the comment made at the shareholder’s meeting? From Phil’s comment it appears this was not an absolute statement along the lines of “the A380 has the best cabin environment ever”, but a relative one along the lines of “the A380 has a better cabin environment than the 748i”. At least that’s how I read it, so mentioning that the 787 or A350 may have a better one is really a red herring.

      I have no trouble believing that the A380, as a 21st century clean-sheet design will have a better cabin environment than the 748i, which is a derivative of a 1960s design. I’d be pleasantly surprised if it were not so, because that would say a lot about the capabilities of Boeing engineers, especially considering the generally good reviews the A380 is getting (never been on one yet, unfortunately).

  24. “@Ewe”

    You know Jacobin, this name-calling may seem funny to you, but it makes you appear like a 15-year old.



  25. @Andreas, point out the name calling? I stated why I believe one is being a “koolaider”…

    The A380, for all its capabilities is a 20th century plane (the B748I is based on a 40 year old concept). From the fuselage to the engine technology. Its already being challenged on CASM (even by Airbus own comments stating that a 10-across on an A350-1000 will have near A380-like CASM). One can find that comment on FlightGlobal.

    It seems this discussion is becoming a bit “circular”….

    • The name’s Uwe, not sheep. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/ewe

      Okay, 20th century. Since the 747 is based on something more like a 45 year old concept (Sutter seems to have started work on it in 1965, according to Wikipedia), let’s just say that the A380 is about 30 years ahead on the technology curve when they did the clean-sheet design.

      That it’s being challenged on CASM is not a surprise. But that has more to do with engine technology than anything else is my guess, and the fact that the A350-1000 is a stretch that would need to cram in passengers to achieve this, while the current A388 is essentially a shrink that was designed for 10-across. So that does not really tell us much.

      Fact of the matter remains – BA made a decision between the A380 and the 748i and thereafter publicly stated the reasons for it. Boeing claims these reasons are bogus, and that it was all about money and last-minute offers. To be honest I have a hard time believing the latter over the former. Some independent corroboration of such claims would greatly improve their credibility.

  26. I love Boeing planes, but wrt the passenger version 380, Airbus is the clear winner. Airbus took the risky move of clean sheet designing a sensible/optimized double decker configuration, and now they have a wonderfully superior plane. Boeing predictably went with a low risk/cost derivisation of an older air frame, reacting to the 380, and ends up with an inferior product that only in a few circumstances will let them maintain a toehold in the VLA passenger plane market. Boeing will have to focus on other segments, and soon, because Airbus is on the verge of having superior products in the large twin engine segment with the 350-1000. Boeing executives: better get going on a plastic tube replacements of the 777 and 737, soon, to avoid another double digit drop in share; and if you can’t afford the engineering costs and risks, maybe you should run up the white flag and ask for government subsidies like Airbus did/does.

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  28. Most of you are not considering real world FACTS when looking at this equation. Fuel per seat is REALLY fuel per paid passenger on any given flight! When you look at the economics of air travel I would strongly recommend against either of these planes because there is a high likely hood that they will fly the majority of their legs at less than capacity which changes the equations drastically. I would push any airline towards the 787 or 777 or their Air Bus cousin due to the ability to fly the same city pairs with less services flown with empty seats. Airlines may want a headliner for marketing purposes, but to move pax for money the bottom line is king. And the bottom line is we can not run 100% on every flight! I would rather leave people at the gate and fly full than run any Jumbo city pair with empty seats. Any modern plan flow at capacity all the time will make money if utilized for the right routes. Southwest has pretty much schooled everyone of this fact. The real question for airlines if they should choose either super jumbo is at the end of the fiscal year what is their percent capacity for that route….. Just think about the times you have flown and looked around and saw empty seats,,,, really not the planes fault, but in the end makes the plane look bad just the same……

  29. Seat per kilometer means the how much fuel it takes to move a seat a kilometer. To get that you divide the fuel consumption per kilometer by the capacity of people so the a380 burns 21.01 liters per kilometer divided by the 525 people it carries. Makes a seat per kilometer thing of 0.04. The 747 uses 16.16 literes per kilometer divided by the 467 people it carries makes a seat kilometer consumption of 0.034. So 0.04 for airbus and 0.34 for Boeing so boeing wins. And obviously less fuel consumption means lesser operating costs. Yay for Boeing

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