In the article published by Cranky Flier, there is a good analysis and comparison between Airbus and Boeing´s strategy in their portfolios for the long haul, widebody market.
777X vs A350
Here’s where the biggest issue lies in the Airbus portfolio. Boeing has decided to go forward with the new 777X, and that will be its big widebody twinjet. The -8 will seat 350, about the same size as the A350-1000. But the -9 will seat 400. This gives Boeing a bigger airplane to which Airbus has no answer. Of course, the 777X will be a derivative of the original 777 design so it’s not likely to be the most efficient option at 350 seats.
The A350-1000 should be a rock star in that regard, but if you want something moderately bigger, Airbus has nothing to offer. Just look at Emirates. The airline has canceled its order for 50 A350-900s and 20 A350-1000s. Then it turned around and ordered 35 777-8Xs and 115 777-9Xs. Emirates, like a lot of airlines, wants to have a mix that skews toward bigger jets. Airbus didn’t have anything to offer in that area.
There’s been plenty of talk about Airbus moving into an A350-1100, and that would compete. But none of that is official at this point. It also remains to be seen if the A350 can be stretched that far and still be an efficient airplane. It wasn’t designed to be that big so there could be some real structural changes required to make it work.
747 vs A380
Up at the top end of the market, we still have the A380 and 747-8 lumbering along. At this point, both airplanes are in production so they should try to sell the heck out of them. But they should realize that there’s a limited shelf life for both. Further development efforts should go into smaller airplanes.
In the end, we have two manufacturers with good options. The only thing that really seems to be lacking is an Airbus twin that can compete with the new 777-9X. If Airbus develops the A350-1100, that solves that problem. Then both manufacturers will have pretty much every tool they need to appeal to nearly every airline. And airlines will be happy to make them beat each other over the head as part of the negotiating process.
Based on the article “Airbus and Boeing Finalize Their Future Widebody Plans and One Looks Better Than the Other” published in