Two of the most successful long haul passenger planes in recent history, the Airbus A340 and Boeing 747 go head to head. No other airplane manufacturers come close to the success of both these airplanes. So which one is best?
|Aircraft:||Airbus A340-600||Boeing 747-400|
|Manufactured:||from: 2006 to: 2011||from: 1989 to: 2005|
|Price:||$275.4 million||$266.5 million|
|Avionics:||Thales – Smiths Avionics||Honeywell Avionics FMC , Rockwell-Collins CMC|
|Engine:||4x 4 X Rolls Royce Trent 556||4x P&W4000 / GE CF6 / RR RB211|
|Power:||61,902 pound-force||63,300 pound-force|
|Max Cruise Speed:||
|Approach Speed (Vref):||135 knots||146 knots|
7,802 Nautical Miles
7,285 Nautical Miles
0.14 nautical mile / gallon
0.068 kilometres / litre
0.13 nautical mile / gallon
0.064 kilometres / litre
|Service Ceiling:||41,450 feet||45,000 feet|
|Rate of Climb:||
5700 feet / minute
28.96metre / second
1500 feet / minute
7.62metre / second
|Take Off Distance:||
|Max Take Off Weight:||
|Max Landing Weight:||
|Fuel Tank Capacity:||
|Seats - Economy:||475 seats||416 seats|
|Seats - Business Class:||380 seats||524 seats|
|Seats - First Class:||-||416 seats|
|Tail Height:||17.93 metre - 58.82 feet||19.41 metre - 63.68 feet|
|Wing Span / Rotor Diameter:||
|Wing Tips:||Canted Winglets||Canted Winglets|
|More Info:||Airbus A340-600||Boeing 747-400|
Data presented is for entertainment purposes and should not be used operationally.
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The Airbus 340 is one of the wide-body and long range commercial airliners that is produced by Airbus. The jet airliner was first developed in the 1970s where the design of the Airbus A340 was officially unveiled in 1987.
The first A340 made its maiden flight in October 1991 and entered into passenger service 2 years later. There have been other versions of A340 that have been developed by the European aerospace company such as the most recent A340-600 that came into service in 2002.
Lufthansa is considered one of the top customers for the Airbus A340 but production of the aircraft was halted on November 10th, 2011 after the company announced the commencement of the production of the A350 XWB. So what makes the Airbus A340 an amazing commercial passenger jet airliner?
The Boeing 747
Nicknamed the ‘Queen of the Skies’, the first Boeing 747 made its maiden flight on 9th February 1969. This was just a year before Boeing entered into a flight service with the Pan American World Airways. Soon after entering service, Boeing 747s become a darling of the skies doubling as both a commercial jet airliner and flying the President of the United States as Air Force One.
It is estimated that there are over 170 Boeing 747 commercial passenger airliners across the world. However, many airlines are currently replacing the 747s with modern and more advanced 2-engine planes.
The most recent of the 747 fleet is the 747-8 model that is a more advanced model of the original Boeing 747 designed using new technology, new features and engines. Even with major airlines upgrading their fleet of the Boeing 747s, what makes the jet airliner the ‘Queen of the Skies’?
Similarities Between Airbus A340 and Boeing 747
A real Globetrotter, the Airbus A340 has earned the reputation of flying long routes that are at times demanding and challenging. The aircraft can fly on routes with harsh weather conditions and still maintain passenger comfort. The four-engine A340 is widely preferred as it has long-haul efficiency but is at the same time a low-cost aircraft compared to other commercial passenger jetliners with similar features.
The spacious interior of the four-engine A340 also makes it perfect for maximum passenger comfort. There are four design variants that include the A340-200, A340-300, A340-500 and the A340-600. The key difference among the design variants in the A340 family is the fuselage lengths that affect the operating range of the jetliner.
The Boeing 747 was designed at a time when major airlines were mulling the decision to create planes that offer supersonic transport. It is for this reason that aviation experts predicted that the Boeing 747 would have a short life as a commercial passenger airliner. The 747 engineers therefore tried to engineer the 747 as a cargo carrier that had a main deck that was about 20 feet wide.
A deck of this size has the capability of carrying two standard-size containers. This design feature makes Boeing 747 the ultimate commercial passenger and cargo hauler. Lufthansa is one of Boeing’s 747 biggest customers with a fleet of 10 747-400s and 19 747-8s in its fleet still operational.
Difference Between A340 and Boeing 747
The Airbus A340 has a wide body with a cross-section of about 222 inches. This provides passengers with maximum, comfort and the most serene environments aloft especially for long-haul flights. The A340 has one of the quietest cabins in the airline industry and is designed for a flexible interior with the capability of customized interiors.
The evolving passenger needs for maximum comfort has seen the A340 designed with 18-inch wide seats in the economy class and extended offerings for the premium class. Despite halting production, major improvements are still being made to the existing fleet in order to meet passenger needs. The modern comfort concept for the Airbus A340 ensures that the European jet airliner meets travelers’ needs going into the future.
The original Boeing 747 design structure was developed by the company and the Seattle-based Teague-a cabin design firm. It would be the first plane to have a high ceiling and vertical sidewalls that gave passengers more room and extra comfort.
The first plane had split rooms instead of an open space with seats in the cabin with the lavatories serving as the dividers. This design continues to define long-haul transport in the aviation industry for decades. Despite newer models undergoing major changes in design, they are inspired by some features that were suggested during the development phase of the original Boeing 747.
How is the Airbus A340 Better?
The Airbus A340 is powered by four engines and is seen as operating independently from the performance restrictions that apply to two-jet airliners. This is what allows the A340 to fly long distances across unforgiving terrain and extended water-routes. The four-engine powered A340 also has the ability to maintain operations with flight operations towers at the airport even at high altitude and bad climatic conditions.
Over the years, the Airbus A340 jet airline has flown approximately 600 million passengers across different regions and has an estimated 20 million flight hours. The Airbus jet airline has also amassed over 2.5 million flight cycles while averaging 16 hours of air travel daily.
How is the Boeing 747 Better?
When a new airplane is designed, there is also the need for the engineers to develop new engines in order to improve fuel efficiency, increase power and also take advantage of lighter engines being developed by engine developers. In order to get the relatively larger Boeing 747 into the air, it needed enough engine power and efficiency and used the JT9D turbofans.
Today, the 747 engines are designed to be quieter, more powerful and fuel efficient. The fuel efficiency comes from the fact that for turbofan engines, air is forced into the engine but only a small portion of this air goes into the engine’s core where it is compressed with fuel to power the turbine. This
The Airbus A340 has some amazing features some of which could have been borrowed from other airlines owing to its late development compared to Boeing 747. Before halting the production of the A340s, Airbus had invested in developing the jet airliner in terms of technology, operational reliability and fuel capacity.
Boeing 747 on the other hand is a preferred choice because of its shorter flight times, better pressurization and higher altitudes. There are many near-similar features between the two planes but the most notable differences are in terms of the engine performance and design.
Considering that most commercial passenger planes are fitted with sophisticated and highly-reliable turbofan engine that was first used in the Boeing 747, the 747 takes it in terms of performance and being a game-changer in the world of commercial passenger airlines.