Airbus A330 vs. Boeing 767: How Do They Compare?

Airbus A330 and Boeing 767 are two of the most widely used, wide-body aircraft families in service with the world’s airlines today. Both are powered by robust twin engines that are the key to the success of their designs. The Boeing 767 preceded the A330 and was a pioneering aircraft in its early days.

Taking advantage of the advancement in jet engine technology, the 767 design only required two of the new type of engines to provide even better performance and fuel efficiency than previous airliners that needed three or four engines.

Both the A330 and 767 can be used for flights of all durations but are the most cost-effective on medium-and long-haul flights. Both aircraft have been produced in similar numbers.

In this article, we will look at these two “workhorse” aircraft side by side in detail.

Boeing 767-400
Boeing 767-400.

Airbus A330 and Boeing 767: The Basics

Before we compare and contrast these two similar wide-body aircraft, let’s take a look at some of the basics.  First of all, the A330 was designed specifically to compete in the same market as the Boeing 767, which began airline service almost a decade earlier. 

The first Boeing 767, the 767-200, first entered service in 1982. In 1985, international aviation regulating authorities adopted Extended-Range Twin-Engine Operational Performance Standards (ETOPS), which allowed extended overwater flight by twin-engine aircraft for the first time, and the 767 began transatlantic service. Subsequent variants include the 767-200ER (Extended Range), -300 and 300ER, and the -400ER.

The 767-300F is a cargo-only version of the -300ER variant. Further planned improvements to the 767 ultimately resulted in the design and production of the Boeing 777 and 787 aircraft models. Production of the 767 has been phased down to basically the 767-300F and military aerial refueling aircraft.

Boeing 767-300
Boeing 767-300F.

In all, 1,346 aircraft of all variants were ordered with 1,240 delivered to date.

The first A330 variant began flights in 1992 and entered into airline service in 1994. The shorter A330-200 followed in 1998. Today, Airbus is also offering re-engined A330neo variants

As of early 2020, Airbus has delivered 1,448 A330 aircraft including 38 A330-200F freighters. An additional 38 A330s are on order. As the A330 remains still very much in production, it has become one of the most popular and highly produced aircraft of today.

Airbus A330-300
Airbus A330-300.

Airbus A330 vs. Boeing 767: Safety

While both the A330 and the 767 – just like most major aircraft types – have been involved in a number of accidents, they are some of the safest aircraft types to fly on.

Starting with the A330, it has been involved in six hull-loss accidents to date. Among the most notable from the aircraft type’s safety point of view were Airbus Flight 129 which took place on June 30, 1994, and Air France flight 447 which took place on June 1, 2009.

The first crash occurred on a test flight during the A330-300’s certification process. The flight killed all seven people on board. Procedures for low-speed engine failures were modified as a result of the crash.

Airbus A330-200
Airbus A330-200.

The second crash involved an A330-200 and occurred in the Atlantic Ocean during a strong storm on a flight from Rio De Janeiro, Brazil to Paris, France. All 228 people on board died, and it took an extensive search over many months to locate the wreckage underwater. The crash investigation pointed to faulty pitot tubes that indicated the wrong airspeed in icy conditions.

To Airbus’ credit, in 2007, the company recommended a refit of all A330s with upgraded pitot tubes. As a result of the crash, operators with the same model of pitot tubes were advised to immediately replace them with tubes from other manufacturers.  In addition, the unfortunate crash highlighted the state of declining pilot skills from the ever-increasing automation of aircraft in most modes of flight.

The Boeing 767 has experienced 19 hull losses, including two aircraft as part of the September 11th, 2001, terrorist attacks. Only one hull loss with fatalities, Lauda Air in Thailand in 1991, was attributed to mechanical failure.

Boeing 767-200
Boeing 767-200.

Airbus A330 vs. Boeing 767: Specs

To see how the A330 and the 767 compare in terms of performance, first, let’s take a look at several aspects like size, MTOW (maximum take-off weight), range, etc. of the different A330 variants.

SpecificationA330-200A330-200FA330-300
Length58.82 m (192.98 ft)58.82 m (192.98 ft)63.67 m (208.89 ft)
Height17.39 m (57 ft)16.9 (55.42 ft)16.79 m (55 ft)
Wingspan60.3 m (197.83 ft)60.3 m (197.83 ft)60.3 m (197.83 ft)
Fuselage Width5.64 m (18.5 ft)5.64 m (18.5 ft)5.64 m (18.5 ft)
MTOW242 t (533,519 lbs)233 t (513,677 lbs)242 t (533,519 lbs)
OEW120.6 t (265,900 lbs)109.4 t (241,200 lbs)129.4 t (285,300 lbs)
Range7,250 nmi4,000 nmi6,350 nmi

Next, let’s do the same for the different variants of the 767.

Specification767-200767-300767-400ER
Length48.51 m (159 ft 2 in)54.94 m (180 ft 3 in)61.37 m (201 ft 4 in)
Height15.9 m (52 ft 2 in)15.9 m (52 ft 2 in)15.9 m (52 ft 2 in)
Wingspan47.57 m (156 ft 1 in)47.57 m (156 ft 1 in)51.92 m (170ft 4 in)
Fuselage Width5.03 m (16.6 ft)5.03 m (16.6 ft)5.03 m (16.6 ft)
MTOW142.9 t (315,000 lbs)158.8 t (350,000 lbs) *204.1 t (450,000l bs)
OEW80.1 t (176,650lbs) *86.1 t (189,750 lbs) *103.9 t (229,000 lbs)
Range3,900 nmi *

7,200 km

3,900 nmi *

7,200 km

5,625 nmi

10,415 km

* Figures differ for the 767-200ER and 767-300ER/F variants.

Airbus A330 vs. Boeing 767: Comfort

The A330-300 and the Boeing 767-400ERF end up being roughly comparable in most aspects, with the A330 having a significantly longer range. Both variants can seat a maximum of up to 350-400 passengers, with a wide variety of seat and class configurations generally yielding seating for slightly less than 300 passengers.

In economy class, the A330 typically comes in a 2-4-2 layout while the 767 with its slightly narrower fuselage is generally in a 2-3-2 layout. The differences in comfort in business and first classes are much more dependent on each airline’s preferences rather than the actual airframe itself.

Airbus A330 vs. Boeing 767
Airbus A330 cabin.

Summary

Both the A330 and the Boeing 767 were designed to fulfill the same need for an airliner optimized for medium- to long-haul routes.

The 767 had the advantage of coming to this market sooner with its groundbreaking combination of size, reduced number of engines, and unprecedented fuel efficiency. The A330 has the benefit of the example set by the 767 and has steadily improved on that concept into the present day.

Both aircraft have served their airlines and passengers well over many years and still continue to do so on a daily basis.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Get Your FREE "Four Ways to Try Business Class Without Breaking the Bank" Guide

No, I am not going to tell you how to fly in first class and sip Dom Perignon for free…

But, I am going to introduce you to a couple of ways you can experiment with to try a business class flight without having to spend thousands of dollars.

How Can I Help You?