Airbus’ and Boeing’s Payload/Range for VLAs

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Aug. 19 2015, ©. Leeham Co: We will now finish our series over Boeing’s changes to its configuration rule sets by looking at how this affects the Very Large Aircraft (VLA) segment.

Airbus and Boeing used to describe the VLAs in their line-ups using three class cabins, albeit with different standards. Now Boeing has changed its standard to a modern three class seating while Airbus has changed to a four class cabin, including premium economy.

We have enough information of the A380 equipped with a three class cabin to be able to make a comparison using three class rule sets. We will therefore apply a three class cabin to the A380 and 747-8 that will have modern seating standards and pair that with Boeing’s tougher payload weights and enroute reserves.


  • Boeing’s new Standard rules three class cabin and our normalized three class cabin for A380 and 747-8i are close in their configurations.
  • We use our knowledge of these standards to create a level playing field on the cabin side.
  • We also apply the new tougher passenger and bags rules + the tougher reserves policy that Boeing’s new Standard rule set prescribes.
  • It used to be that A380 had a range advantage at max passenger payload. We check if this remains under the new rules.

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