Boeing 767 vs. Airbus A380: How Do They Compare?

The 767 and A380 widebodies are very different aircraft physically, primarily due to the upper passenger deck on the A380, making the A380 a much bigger and heavier aircraft than the 767. The one thing they have in common, though, is that neither the A380 nor the passenger variants of the 767 are in production anymore. 

In this article, I’ll compare these two aircraft from a number of different perspectives including size, seating capacity, range, and orders.

Boeing 767 vs. Airbus A380: How Do They Compare?
Singapore Airlines A380.

History

The 767 was the first Boeing wide-body aircraft to be designed for two flight crew members. The first 767 orders were placed in 1978 and 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 customer.

Boeing 767 was designed to replace the market at the time occupied by types such as the aging Boeing 707, Douglas DC-8, Lockheed L-1011 Tristar, and the McDonnell Douglas DC-10.

Over time, the 767 family has grown to include five passenger models, the 767 freighter based on the 767-300ER, and the 767 military tanker which is based on the 767-200ER. 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 767-200

The A380 is no longer in production and was available in just one variant – the A380-800. Other variants were proposed but never produced, including the A380 Freighter (A380F), the A380-200 or ‘A380 Stretch,’ the A380-900 (another stretched variant), the A380neo (stretched, new engines and higher passenger capacity), and the A380plus (higher seat capacity and improved fuel efficiency).

The A380 is the world’s largest passenger airliner and the only full-length double-deck commercial passenger aircraft. Airbus originally conceived the initial idea for the A380 back in the late-1980s and it was developed as a direct long-haul competitor to the Boeing 747 (see how the two compare). The A380 program was not launched until 2000, and the first prototype was produced in Toulouse, France, in 2005. FAA and EASA type ratings were received in 2006.

The first A380 deliveries were delayed and took place in 2007, with Singapore Airlines being the launch customer. At its production peak, Airbus was able to produce thirty A380s a year.

The A380s largest customer is Emirates with 123 deliveries. In 2019, Emirates canceled part of a large order, and subsequently, Airbus decided to end the A380’s short-lived production run. The final, 251st A380 was delivered to Emirates in 2021.

Airbus A380-800

Dimensions

Let’s take a look at some key physical characteristics and see how these two aircraft measure up against each other. As you would expect, the double-passenger deck A380 is significantly heavier than the single-passenger deck 767 and has a wider diameter fuselage. The A380 also has a longer wingspan and a longer fuselage than the 767 variants.

The FAA classifies aircraft by size based on wingspan into one of six categories (I to VI). The A380 is classified as an FAA Group VI aircraft because of its long wingspan. Group VI includes aircraft with wingspans between 65m and 80m. The 767 variants fall into Group IV with wingspans between 36m and 52m:

Aircraft Model Length/ m Wingspan/ m Fuselage Width/ m Tail Height/ m MTOW/ tonnes
767-200 48.51 47.57 5.03 16.13 142.9
767-200ER 179.2
767-300 54.94 16.03 158.8
767-300ER 186.9
767-400ER 61.37 51.92 17.01 204.1
A380 72.72 79.75 7.10 24.10 575.0

Boeing 767-400

Range

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.

Airbus indicates that the A380 has a range of 8,000nm (15,000km), with a standard 4-class cabin configuration. This is longer than all 767 variants.

Seat Capacity and Cabin Layout

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.

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

Airbus indicates that the A380 allows 545 seats in a standard 4-class configuration and a maximum seating capacity of 853. The maximum 4-class configuration currently operating is 520 seats.

For the A380 I looked at the seating configurations of a range of A380 operators. Typically, this aircraft is configured with three- or four-class cabin configurations, with one airline (Emirates) operating a two-class configuration (business and economy classes) on some of its aircraft. The average seat numbers for each cabin configuration are set out in the table below.

Aircraft 2-class 3-class 4-class
A380 615 495 488

The twin-aisle A380 interior typically allows cabin configurations of ten seats per row in economy class on the lower deck and eight seats per row in economy class on the upper deck. Premium economy is typically seven, or eight seats per row, depending on which deck is used. Business class typically has four to six seats per row (with eight seats abreast in British Airways’ opposing seat layout), and first class has three or four seats per row.

That said, two airlines – Etihad Airways and Singapore Airlines – equipped their first class with suites in a single-aisle 1-1 arrangement creating two of the world’s spacious first class products.

Airbus A380 Cabin

Customers and Orders

Boeing 767 deliveries as of 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

To date, the 767-300ER accounts for 46% of all 767 deliveries. 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).

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.

Boeing 767-300

The A380 is no longer in production and Airbus received a total of 251 orders from Air France, ANA, Asiana Airlines, British Airways, China Southern, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Korean Air, Lufthansa, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, and Thai Airways.

Emirates is by far the A380’s largest customer, accounting for almost 50% of the total orders. Singapore Airlines is the second largest customer accounting for around 10% of orders.

767 vs. A380: Summary

The 767 and A380 widebody aircraft are, physically, quite different aircraft. Whilst they are both widebody aircraft the much larger quad-engine A380 with its two passenger decks is a larger and heavier aircraft compared to the twin-engine 767. The A380 also carries significantly more passengers and has a longer range than the 767 variants.

With the A380 no longer in production, and with 767 production now restricted only to freighters and tankers, delivery numbers make for a relatively simple comparison. In terms of commercial success, it can be said that the 767 is a far more successful aircraft than the A380, with more than five times as many orders to date.

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