Sunset of the Quads, Part 8. The A380, 747-8i and 777-9 compared.

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By Bjorn Fehrm


September 24, 2020, © Leeham News: Airbus was disturbed for decades by Boeing’s rein of the Very Large Aircraft (VLA) airliner segment with the 747. It was determined Boeing used this dominance to outmaneuver Airbus in different situations.

Airbus needed an aircraft in this market segment, bigger and better than Boeing’s. The result was the A380, the world’s largest passenger aircraft. We know how this developed today, where the COVID pandemic finally killed the segment for Very Large Aircraft. But how good was it, and where were the weaknesses?

We compare the A380, 747-8i, and Boeing’s up and coming 777-9 to find out.

  • The A380 outclassed the Boeing 747-400 efficiency-wise, as it was a 30 years younger design.
  • The updated 747, the 747-8i narrowed the gap to the A380, but if both could be filled the A380 stayed ahead.
  • The 777-9 is 15 years younger in design than the A380, and it shows. It is significantly more economical in operation than the A380.
  • Throughout its career, the A380 had a graver problem than its efficiency. It was simply too big for a market that went for frequency instead of large departures.

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