Airbus and Boeing have been creating a duopoly for decades for large passenger jets and cultivating one of the largest rivalries in the world. Their fierce rivalry has pushed the boundaries of aviation technology for years.
With Airbus vs Boeing, the various aircraft that both companies produce are often very similar and tend to outperform its competitors based on their generations.
Airbus has had fly-by-wire flight controls since the early 1980s, while Boeing introduced theirs in 1981. The 777 was launched in 1990, while the A380 debuted in 2005. The A320 family entered production in 1994; the -200 model came along in 2001. In terms of engine power, the A330/A340/A350 families boast higher thrust levels than the B737 series, but the latter boasts a larger payload capability. The A320 family offers slightly lower cruise speeds than the 737 models, but the former enjoys significantly improved takeoff performance. The A350 XWB also features superior range compared to the 787 Dreamliner, but the latter costs much less per seat mile.
Many of you who are thinking of becoming pilots after graduation might wonder whether flying commercial aircraft would be easier or harder than airline pilot jobs. The answer depends entirely upon what kind of training program you pursue. For those interested in pursuing a type rating, however, the decision becomes much simpler.
Europeans prefer Airbus planes over Boeing ones. The European airline industry favours the Airbus 320 series and the smaller single aisle aircraft, while Americans tend to fly American made jets. And Airbus has a strong foothold on military aircraft development.
Boeing seems to be keeping pace with Airbus’ newest offerings, while simultaneously introducing its own latest aircraft – the 777X. The company’s newest plane promises great things.
Which company produces more planes per year?
Airbus’ sales rose sharply during the past decade, while Boeing saw its numbers decline slightly. In total, Airbus delivered 12,294 planes between 2010 and 2019, versus 10,265 for Boeing.
Market Share – Airbus’ Gain, Boeing’s Loss
Commercial aviation markets are highly concentrated among just two manufacturers, Boeing and Airbus, which each account for over 90% of global sales.
Boeing has been losing ground to Airbus in the global airliner market because its planes aren’t selling as fast as those made by the European rival.
Since Boeing launched the 737 family in 1968, over 11,500 planes have been produced, while the Airbus A320, which was introduced in 1988, has seen more than 8,700 aircraft manufactured by 2019.
Airbus surpassed Boeing in 2015, selling its 50 millionth plane – the A350 XWB.
Boeing also leads the commercial aviation sector with a market share of 52%, while Airbus holds a commanding lead over its rival in the civil aerospace industry with a market share of 47%.
Over the years, Boeing and Airbus aircraft have released numerous types of planes, each with its own unique features and capabilities. While some models share similar characteristics, others differ significantly enough to warrant comparison. Let’s break down how the major differences between the two airframers stack up against each other.
There are three types of planes we can categorize: narrow body, wide body, and jumbos. Below is a breakdown of what each type looks like.
The Jumbo-Jet Category
Both the Boeing 747 and the Airbus A380 are double-decker, twin-aisle, widebody airplanes designed for medium-to long-range flights while cutting costs per passenger.
Boeing 747, also known as “Queen of the Skies,” came into being because PanAm airlines wanted to make air travel more affordable and asked Boeing to develop a bigger plane to cut down on ticket prices.
By May 2022, this jet has already flown over 16 million miles and made its maiden flight in October 2011. This amazing machine has been around since 1968 and is sill flying non-stop!
The Airbus A380 was designed to compete against the dominance of Boeing in the long haul market and is the largest commercial aircraft ever made. As a result, it is a double-decked, twin-aisled jetliner capable of seating over 800 passengers.
Though the A380 was initially seen as a success, over its 14 years of production, only 251 units were produced, and while it did hold more than 500 passengers, it couldn’t compete against Boeing’s 747. The plane also proved expensive at $446 million per unit, and despite being billed as “the future of air travel,” it failed to break even and won’t ever recover its $32 billion development costs.
The Twin Aisle Category
Airbus builds both widebody planes and narrowbodies. Its flagship model is the A380 superjumbo, which goes against the dominant Boeing 747 jumbos. Meanwhile, the smaller A320 family competes with the 737 MAX. And he Airbus A330 is a direct competing product to the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the Airbus A350 competes against the Boeing 777.
Based on the A300 platform, the first variant was named the A330-300 and was introduced the early 90s. As of today, 2,958 orders have been placed while only 1000 aircraft have been delivered.
The latest Boeing 787 Dreamliner (succeeding the 767) features improved fuel efficiency and lower emissions than previous versions. In addition, this plane offers increased passenger space and range compared to older models.
The Airbus A350 XWB was designed to replace older models of widebody jets. The plane features larger wings than its predecessors, allowing airlines to carry heavier loads at higher speeds without increasing fuel consumption.
The Single Aisle Category
Airbus made history when it introduced the A320, becoming the largest passenger aircraft ever produced at over 200 feet long. The plane was designed specifically for low-cost airlines around the globe and a direct competitor to the Boeing 737.
Boeing designed its rival aircraft, the 737 MAX, to compete against Airbus’ successful A320 model. However, after the fatal crashes involving the MAX 8 jet, Boeing halted development of the plane and cancelled orders. Meanwhile, Airbus continued selling the A320/A340 family of jets while also building the A321XLR and A320 Neo.
So, which is better? Boeing vs Airbus
Boeing aircraft is known for its reliable planes, while Airbus aircraft is considered the leader in innovation. The two companies compete fiercely against each other.
Aircraft manufacturers often release technical specs and sales figures without considering how those numbers affect the company’s bottom line. The Boeing 787 Dreamliner was once considered a technological triumph before its launch, only to see production halted due to quality issues. Likewise, the Airbus A350 XWB took off slowly at first, but eventually gained momentum thanks to strong demand.
Personal preferences matter at the end of the day. Pilots often favor Boeing aircraft because they give the pilot more control; however, many passengers appreciate the unparalleled comfort offered by an A380. Others prefer the newer design and quieter cabin provided by the 787 Dreamliner.
It all depends on your personal preferences!