Boeing 767 vs. Airbus A350: How Do They Compare?

The Boeing 767 and Airbus A350 are both twin-engine, twin-aisle widebodies. The 767 first went into service in 1982, and the A350 followed decades later in 2015. While the passenger variants of the 767 are no longer in production and the numbers in commercial airline fleets are dwindling, the 767 freighter and tanker are still available.

In this article, I’ll compare these two aircraft from a number of different perspectives, so, let’s see how the 767 and A350 compare in terms of key attributes such as size, seating capacity, range, and orders.

Boeing 767 vs. Airbus A350


The 767 was the first Boeing widebody aircraft to be designed for two flight crew members. The first 767 orders were placed in 1978 and the first aircraft went into service in 1982. The commercial jet versions of the 767 are no longer in production, with the last 767 rolling out in 2014. After 2012, all 767 orders have been for the freighter and tanker versions of this aircraft, with FedEx being the major freighter customer.

Boeing 767 was designed to replace the market at the time occupied by aircraft such as the aging 707, Douglas DC-8, Lockheed L1011 Tristar, and the McDonnell Douglas DC-10.

The 767 family includes five passenger models, the 767 freighter which is based on the 767-300ER fuselage, and the 767 military tanker which is based on the 767-200ER (the KC-46 designated as the 767-2C in Boeing’s order book data). In 1985, the 767 was ETOPS certified allowing it to fly regular routes across the Atlantic Ocean.

The main 767 variants and their first in-commercial service dates are as follows:

Aircraft Model Type First in Service
767-200 Passenger 1982
767-200ER Passenger 1984
767-300 Passenger 1986
767-300ER Passenger 1988
767-400ER Passenger 2000
767-300F Freighter 1995

Boeing 767-200ER

The A350 family has two main passenger versions: the A350-900 and the longer fuselage A350-1000, and a freighter version, the A350F. The A350-900 is also available as an Ultra Long Range model (A350-900ULR) with a range of up to 9,700nmi, achieved through a modified fuel system that increases the aircraft’s fuel carrying capacity without the need for additional fuel tanks. The A350-900ULR is capable of flying an amazing 20 hours non-stop.

When Airbus originally launched the A350 program, there were three variants – the A350-800, A350-900, and the A350-1000. However, only the A350-900 and A350-1000 moved into production, despite the A350-800 receiving a fair number of orders. A350-800 orders began to disappear as buyers converted to the larger A350-900 and subsequently became attracted to the A330neo that was launched at the 2014 Farnborough Airshow.

Shortly after this airshow, Airbus canceled the A350-800 and tried to persuade its A350-800 customers to switch to the A350-900 or the A330neo. Most did switch but not all.

The available A350 variants are listed below:

Aircraft Model Type First In Service
A350-900 Passenger 2015
A350-900ULR (Ultra Long Range) Passenger 2018
A350-1000 Passenger 2018
A350F Freighter

The first A350 prototype flew in June 2013, and type certifications from both EASA and the FAA were achieved in 2014. The A350 is the first Airbus aircraft largely made of carbon-fiber-reinforced polymers. The A350F freighter version is available for order, but as of May 2023, no A350F aircraft have been delivered yet.

In January 2015, the first A350-900 entered service with Qatar Airways, followed by the A350-1000 in February 2018, also with Qatar Airways.

Airbus A350-900


Let’s take a look at some key physical characteristics and see how the passenger versions of these two aircraft measure up against each other.

The 767 variants fall into FAA Airplane Design (ADG) Group IV with wingspans between 36m and 52m. The A350 variants have longer fuselages and wingspans compared to the 767 variants and are classified as FAA Group V aircraft with wingspans between 52m and 65m.

Generally speaking, the A350 is a larger and heavier aircraft compared to the 767.

Aircraft Model Length/ m Wingspan/ m Fuselage Width/ m MTOW/ tonnes
767-200 48.51 47.57 5.03 142.9
767-200ER 179.2
767-300 54.94 158.8
767-300ER 186.9
767-400ER 61.37 51.92 204.1
A350-900 66.8 64.75 5.96 280.0
A350-1000 73.8 311.0

Boeing 767-300ER


The A350 is flexible enough to fly efficiently all sectors from short-haul to ultra-long-haul routes, with a maximum range of up to 9,700nm for the A350-900ULR allowing more than 20 hours of flying time. The ranges of the A350 variants are shown in the table below.

Aircraft Model Range
A350-900 8,300nm (15,372km)
A350-900ULR 9,700nm (18,000km)
A350-1000 8,700nm (16,112km)

The ranges of the 767 variants are shown in the table below:

Aircraft Model Range
767-200 3,900nm (7,200km)
767-200ER 6,590nm (12,200km)
767-300 3,900nm (7,200km)
767-300ER 5,980nm (11,0870km)
767-400ER 5,625nm (10,415km)
767-300F 3,255nm (6,030km)

Whilst the 767 was originally targeted at hub and point-to-point carriers operating short- to mid-range transcontinental routes, its later 180-minute ETOPS certifications allowed it to operate intercontinental routes, including transatlantic routes, boosting sales.

The 767 ER variants have ranges of around 10,000 – 12,000km which fall short of the ranges achieved by all of the A350 variants, and well below the impressive 18,000km range of the A350-900ULR.

Boeing 767-400ER

Seat Capacity

The 767’s official seat numbers from Boeing vary by variant and number of cabin classes. The 767-200 variants range from 174 (3-class) to 245 seats (1-class), the 767-300 variants range from 210 to 290 seats, and the 767-400 variants range from 243 to 409 seats.

In practice, actual seat numbers vary significantly by airline and depend on their seating standards, number of classes, and whether premium classes are fitted-out with lie-flat seats. Based on my research I conclude that 767-200 and 300 variants with two-class cabins typically have around 230 seats.

The twin-aisle 767 typically has seven seats abreast in economy class (2-3-2), six seats abreast in premium economy class (2-2-2), and four to six seats abreast in business class (1–⁠2–⁠1, 2-1-2, 2-2-2).

The A350 typically carries anywhere between around 250 and 400 passengers in two- or three-class cabin configurations. I have looked at the seating configurations of this aircraft’s biggest customers (Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa, Air France, Qatar Airways, Etihad, Air China, Virgin Atlantic, and Cathay Pacific). Typically, the A350 is configured with three-class or two-class seating configurations, and the ranges of seat numbers are set out in the table below:

Aircraft 2-class 3-class
A350-900 161 – 303 253 – 325
A350-1000 327 331 – 397

You can see that seating numbers vary significantly even for the same aircraft with the same number of cabins. The two-class configuration with 161 seats is a bit of an outlier and belongs to Singapore Airlines’ A350-ULRs used on its long-haul routes to the USA which are fitted out with only business and premium economy class seats.

Airbus suggests that the A350 can carry 300-350 (A350-900) or 350-410 (A350-1000) passengers in typical three-class configurations; and up to 440 passengers in a single-class layout for the A350-900, and 480 passengers for the A350-1000.

The A350 interior typically allows cabin configurations of nine seats per row in economy class, eight seats per row in premium economy, and four seats per row in business class, with a twin-aisle arrangement.

Airbus A350-1000

Customers and Orders

Boeing 767 deliveries to the end of June 2023 totaled 1,280 aircraft and, of these, the split between the various 767 variants is as follows:

  • 767-2C: 73
  • 767-200: 128
  • 767-200ER: 121
  • 767-300: 104
  • 767-300ER: 583
  • 767-300F: 233
  • 767-400ER: 38

At the end of June 2023, Boeing had 112 unfulfilled orders for the 767, 47 of which were for the 767-300F and 65 for the 767-2C.

Adding deliveries and unfulfilled orders together, the 767-300ER is the most popular 767 variant with a total of 583 aircraft, representing 42% of all 767 deliveries and unfulfilled orders combined at the end of June 2023. Interestingly, the second most popular 767 variant is the 767-300F with a total of 280 deliveries and unfulfilled orders at the end of June 2023 (20% of all 767 deliveries and unfulfilled orders).

In total, the 767 deliveries and unfulfilled orders at the end of June 2023 were 1,392 aircraft (1,280 deliveries and 112 unfulfilled orders).

The last order for a 767 passenger jet variant was placed in 2012, and in 2014 Boeing dropped the 767-400ER and the 767-200ER from its pricing list. Since 2012 the only 767 orders received by Boeing have been for the 767-2C and the 767-300F, and orders keep coming in for these variants, albeit in relatively modest numbers.

The 767’s biggest passenger airline customer is United Airlines. However, the 767 has also been very popular with cargo airlines, and FedEx is actually the 767’s largest customer overall. UPS is also a very significant 767 customer. Current passenger version operators of the 767 include Air Astana, ANA, Austrian Airlines, Delta Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, Icelandair, JAL, LATAM Airlines, and United Airlines.

As of the end of June 2023, Airbus has received a total of 1,026 orders for the A350, and has delivered 542 (53%). So far, the A350-900 is the most popular of the A350 variants accounting for 74% of orders and 86% of deliveries. So far, no A350F aircraft have been delivered.

Top A350 customers include Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa, Cathay Pacific, and United Airlines.

Boeing 767-300F

767 vs. A350: Summary

The 767 arrived a long time before the A350, entering commercial service in 1982, compared to 2015 for the A350. The 767 passenger variants are no longer in production with the last 767-passenger variant order placed in 2012. In contrast, the A350 is in full production with a significant order backlog of almost 500 aircraft. So far, the number of 767 orders exceeds that of the A350, although this may change in the future given the ongoing popularity of the A350.

The A350 is a larger aircraft than the 767 in all respects – length, wingspan, fuselage width, and MTOW. But similarities lie in the fact that both aircraft are twinjet, twin-aisle widebodies. Both aircraft have also benefited commercially from ETOPS certification allowing airlines to deploy these twinjets on long-haul intercontinental routes.

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