European airframer accuses rival of misrepresenting ultra large aircraft’s performance

Airbus has accused Boeing of “drastically misrepresenting” the performance of the A380 in a series of recent marketing campaigns pitting the double-decker against the newly launched 747-8.

Boeing 747 - airbus weight claims w445

Boeing stands by its assessment that 747-8 will offer an operating cost advantage over its rival

“They’ve been slapping huge weight mark-ups on both the passenger and freighter versions, and slapping big fuel mark-ups. They’re saying it is 10% higher in fuel burn for both the Rolls-Royce and Engine Alliance engines, and that’s huge,” said A380 product marketing director Richard Carcaillet at the Asian Aerospace show in Singapore.

“We’re talking about gross exaggerations, particularly in the case of the freighter. They’ve put 13t extra empty weight on the A380F and added a 10% fuel burn mark-up. They just keep repeating these lines and I have to stop it right there,” said Carcaillet.

Boeing stands by its assertions on the relative structural weights of the competing models, and the knock-on effects on performance. “In the case of the A380 we can perform our own estimates and we don’t know exactly where it would come out. But we do think the -8 will have significantly lower trip costs of up to 25% in some cases,” said Boeing product development vice president Dan Mooney.

Boeing’s figures indicate the 747-8F will have an operating empty weight some 85t lighter than the A380-800F, Mooney said. Although the A380 “definitely has a volume advantage, in terms of payload weight its configuration doesn’t work so well”, he said.

To counter Boeing’s claims, and “aligning our numbers to their assumption”, Carcaillet said on a 5,550km (3,000nm) mission with fuel at $1.52/US gallon the reality is ”very different. The 747-8 cost per seat is 9% higher, and not 6% lower than the A380 as claimed. The trip cost is just 12% lower than the A380, not 22% as claimed by Boeing. For fuel burn it’s even worse. They claim the fuel burn per seat for the 747-8 is 16% lower than the 747-400 and 14% lower than the A380. That would mean a fuel burn per seat some 2% lower than the 747-400. The reality is the fuel burn per seat of the A380 is 11% lower than the -400, and 2% lower [3-4% on longer ranges] than the 747-8.”

On the freighter, Carcaillet said that the 85t weight difference is “grossly inaccurate – it is arithmetically impossible for the -8F empty weight to be 85t lighter and have 20% lower trip costs and 23% lower tonne per mile costs – unless the -8F payload is over 150t.”


Ever wondered what the view is like from the upper deck of the world's largest airliner? Can you see the tip of the stabilizer from the A380 cabin? What does the wing look like from the main deck compared to the top deck? What is it like to enter the upper deck from the curved aft stairway? Can you see over the nose from the flight deck windows? These, and perhaps a few of the other odd questions you wanted to know about the A380 but were too afraid to ask, are answered as Guy Norris, Flight International's US West Coast Editor takes a tour around the giant.

Source: Flight International