Airbus A380 vs Boeing 747
During the 1990s both companies researched the feasibility of a passenger aircraft larger than the Boeing 747, which was then the largest airliner in operation. Airbus subsequently launched a full-length double-deck aircraft, the A380, a decade later while Boeing decided the project would not be commercially viable and developed the third generation 747, Boeing 747-8, instead.The Airbus A380 and the Boeing 747-8 are therefore placed in direct competition on long-haul routes.
Cross-section comparison of the Airbus A380 (full length double deck) and the front section of Boeing 747-400 (only the front section has double deck)
Rival performance claims by Airbus and Boeing appear to be contradictory, their methodologies unclear and neither are validated by a third party source.Boeing claims the 747-8I to be over 10% lighter per seat and have 11% less fuel consumption per passenger, with a trip-cost reduction of 21% and a seat-mile cost reduction of more than 6%, compared to the A380. The 747-8F’s empty weight is expected to be 80 tonnes (88 tons) lighter and 24% lower fuel burnt per ton with 21% lower trip costs and 23% lower ton-mile costs than the A380F. On the other hand, Airbus claims the A380 to have 8% less fuel consumption per passenger than the 747-8I and in 2007 Singapore Airlines CEO Chew Choong Seng stated the A380 was performing better than both the airline and Airbus had anticipated, burning 20% less fuel per passenger than the airline’s 747-400 fleet.Emirates’ Tim Clark also claims that the A380 is more fuel economic at Mach 0.86 than at 0.83.One independent, industry analysis shows fuel consumption in Litres per seat per 100 kilometres flown (L/seat/100 km) as 3.27 for the A380 and 3.35 for the B747-8I, or a fuel cost per seat mile of $0.055 and $0.057 respectively. A possible, as yet uncommitted, re-engined A380neo is expected to achieve 2.82 or 2.65 L/seat/100 km depending on the options taken.
Airbus emphasises the longer range of the A380 while using up to 17% shorter runways.The A380-800 has 478 square metres (5,145.1 sq ft) of cabin floor space, 49% more than the 747-8, while commentators noted the “downright eerie” lack of engine noise, with the A380 being 50% quieter than a 747-400 on takeoff. Airbus delivered the 100th A380 on 14 March 2013. From 2012, Airbus will offer, as an option, a variant with improved maximum take-off weight allowing for better payload/range performance. The precise increase in maximum take-off weight is still unknown. British Airways and Emirates will be the first customers to take this offer.
As of December 2015, Airbus has 319 orders for the passenger version of the A380 and is not currently offering the A380-800 freighter. Production of the A380F has been suspended until the A380 production lines have settled with no firm availability date. A number of original A380F orders were cancelled following delays to the A380 program in October 2006, notably FedEx and the United Parcel Service. Some A380 launch customers converted their A380F orders to the passenger version or switched to the 747-8F or 777F aircraft.
As of June 2014, Boeing has 51 orders for the 747-8I passenger version and 69 for the 747-8F freighter.