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Difference Between Airbus A380 and Boeing 747

Airbus A380 vs Boeing 747

Airbus and Boeing are the two giants when it comes to manufacturing commercial airplanes. The A380 is the latest and biggest plane from Airbus while the 747 has been Boeing’s flagship for quite some time. The biggest difference between the two is size as the A380 is certainly much bigger than the 747. The Airbus A380 has a wingspan that is 15m longer to that of the 747. It is also about 50% heavier than the 747 even when empty. The size of the A380 is such that many airport runways are not equipped to accommodate the huge planes and had to undergo major renovations to make them fit.

The major contributor to the A380′s considerable size is its 2nd deck, which extends the full length of the entire plane. The 747 is also a double decker but its 2nd deck is just very short. The 747′s characteristic bulge at the front of the plane is the extent of its 2nd deck. Because of the full length of the A380′s deck, it can accommodate way more passengers than the 747 without extending its length by much. Even though the A380 is just over 2 meters longer than the 747, it can accommodate 33% more passengers in the usual 3 class seating or up to 50% more in an all economy seating.

In order to get that much weight into the air, the A380 needs a lot more thrust than the 747. Each of the A380′s four engines can put out at least 80,000lbs of thrust while the 747′s engines only put out somewhere around 60,000lbs of thrust. But all in all, the A380 still manages to be more efficient and less costly per passenger and would be perfect in high traffic routes like major cities and regional hubs. Other areas may not benefit from having an A380 or may even lose profit because of it.

As the 747 has been in production for four decades, it is no secret that it has gone through many revisions and has many variants aside from the typical passenger and cargo models. Non-commercial variants include VIP transport, with Air Force One being the most popular, Shuttle carrier, and as an aerial fire fighter among others. The A380, being fairly new, only has passenger and cargo models at the moment.

Summary:

1. The A380 is much bigger than the 747
2. The A380 is a true double decker while the 747 is not
3. The A380 can accommodate 33% more passengers than the 747
4. The A380 has more powerful engines than the 747
5. The 747 comes in a lot more variants than the A380


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2 Comments

  1. Hi,

    Contrary to what you wrote, I found multiple credible sources online that suggests the Boeing 747-8 has better fuel economy than the A380.

    The difference in fuel economy is so pronounced that Airbus has decided to abandon the freight version of the A380. Boeing reacts by saying that the A380 is simply too inefficient to compete in that freight market. Airbus does not respond to media requests about Boeing’s statement.

    From the Boeing website:
    “The 747-8 is more than 10 percent lighter per seat than the A380 and will consume 11 percent less fuel per passenger than the 555-seat airplane. That translates into a trip-cost reduction of 21 percent and a seat-mile cost reduction of more than 6 percent, compared to the A380.”

    Airbus, on the other hand, tries to stray away from the fuel economy topic.

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