Airbus, Boeing Fight Over 747, A380 Performance Data

By Jens Flottau, Rupa Haria
Source: AWIN First
August 06, 2013

Airbus and Boeing are again engaged in a serious dispute over comparative performance figures for the Airbus A380 and the Boeing 747-8.

Following a decision by the U.K. Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) to dismiss an Airbus claim over what the manufacturer considers to be misleading advertising content, John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer Customers, says Boeing’s assumptions behind its performance claims are “as outdated and obsolete as the 747.”

Airbus had initially reacted to the Boeing advertisement in question last year by placing counter-advertising in the trade press showing a 737 “Pinocchio” aircraft, alleging that its competitor was not telling the truth about comparing the 747’s and A380’s performance. Boeing had initially claimed a 26% trip cost advantage for the 747-8 over the A380, as well as 8% better unit costs.

The ASA states in its report that the intended audience of the ad is “involved in the decision-making process to purchase large aircraft, and would have a high-level understanding in this area and would be familiar with the method of comparison used by Boeing.”

The U.K. regulator also concluded that the audience was “unlikely to make a purchase decision without seeking a great deal more information on the potential advantages of the airplane, based on their own specific requirements.”

In a statement, Boeing says it thanks the ASA for the “decision to dismiss the unfounded complaints. We are pleased that our advertisements underlining the advantages of buying Boeing products have been supported.”

Airbus, in contrast, claims that the decision has “not taken equivalent comfort standards into account. While the A380 features a total of 525 wider seats in all classes, more legroom, more comfort and space, Boeing squeezes 467 seats into the 747-8’s dated fuselage, confirming Boeing’s legacy comfort standards dating back to the 1980s.”

Airbus also insists that under comparable conditions, the A380 has a “significantly lower fuel-burn per seat compared to the 747-8.”

Leahy says that Boeing “continues trying to mislead the public by claiming a ‘standard layout’ that actually has never been sold or installed on any of their aircraft. Boeing should stop trying to mislead and acknowledge that the old 747 ‘reference’ layouts have been overtaken by reality.”

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