Though both have been plagued by delays, the launch of two new super-planes – the European Airbus A380 and the American Boeing 787 Dreamliner – comes as oil prices continue to soar and airlines struggle with tighter margins. Here’s how the two jumbo jets stack up.
Airbus’ flagship – a double-deck, wide-body, four-engine airliner – is the world’s largest passenger aircraft.
Entered service: October 2007
Price: Approximately US$320 million
Capacity: 525 passengers in a three-class configuration, seated over two spacious decks
Range: 8,300 nautical miles
Fuel efficiency: Burns 20% less fuel per seat than the Boeing 747-400, the former largest aircraft
Interior: The A380 provides space for the ultimate luxury "seats," such as Singapore Airlines’ aptly named Singapore Suite, which is isolated from other passengers, has a real bed and a three-foot long armchair, along with a multimedia center with a 23-inch TV
Orders: As of June, a total of 234 firm orders from 17 customers had been placed for the A380, including five orders from China Southern Airlines. Thirty-three planes have been delivered and are currently in operation.
Boeing 787 Dreamliner
Super efficiency is the key for this mid-sized, wide-body, twin-engine jet airliner
Entered service: First flight was in December 2009
Price: US$150-205 million
Capacity: 210-250 passengers
Range: 7,650 to 8,200 nautical miles
Fuel efficiency: Uses 20% less fuel per passenger than similarly-sized airplanes
Interior: Boeing says passengers will enjoy the Dreamliner’s cleaner air, bigger windows, increased stowage space and improved lighting compared to other aircraft
Orders: As of August, Boeing had 847 orders for the 787 in its books, including 15 planes ordered by Air China and 37 from Air Canada. So far this year, Boeing has received 28 orders for 787s but 32 have been cancelled.