LONDON — Both manufacturing giants, Airbus and Boeing, have posted updates in their price listings, which have been increased between 2-4% between the two due to certain increased costs in labor, salaries, and other miscellaneous costs.

Airways has received the new updated price lists and will look at whether it makes either of the two the more affordable for airlines when it comes to purchasing new aircraft.


Photo: Boeing

Boeing’s price adjustment has increased by 4.1%. When Airways got in touch with Boeing, they said the price increase is due to ‘escalation costs’ over the last pricing update back in March last year. The manufacturer said that these escalation costs are related to “a reflection of higher costs for employee salaries and benefits as well as an increase in goods and services, as compiled by the U.S. Department of Labor.”

Their price lists changes are as follows:

737 Family:
  • 737-700: $85.8 million
  • 737-800: $102.2 million
  • 737-900ER: $108.4 million
  • 737MAX7: $96.0 million
  • 737MAX8: $117.1 million
  • 737MAX200: $120.2 million
  • 737MAX9: $124.1 million
  • 737MAX10: $129.9 million
747 Family:
  • 747-8: $402.9 million
  • 747-8F: $403.6 million
767 Family:
  • 767-300ER: $209.8 million
  • 767-300 Freighter: $212.2 million
777 Family:
  • 777-200ER: $295.2 million
  • 777-200LR: $334.0 million
  • 777-300ER: $361.5 million
  • 777 F: $339.2 million
  • 777-8: $394.9 million
  • 777-9: $425.8 million
787 Family:
  • 787-8: $239.0 million
  • 787-9: $281.6 million
  • 787-10: $325.8 million


Airbus rolls out its first A321neo ACF (Airbus Cabin Flex) in Hamburg with the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the Statue of Liberty in New York illustrating its transatlantic flight capability on its livery. PHOTO: Airbus.

Airbus’ price listings have also changed by a few percentage points. John Leahy, Chief Operating Officer for Customers at Airbus Commercial Aircraft commented on the increase. “Our new 2018 pricing reflects Airbus’ continuous investments into its aircraft programmes to maximise their value for our customers’ satisfaction – with the winning combination of performance, operating economics and passenger experience”.

The changes are as follows:

  • A318: $77.4 million
  • A319: $92.3 million
  • A320: $101.0 million
  • A321: $118.3 million
  • A320neo family:
    • A319neo: $101.5 million
    • A320neo: $110.6 million
    • A321neo: $129.5 million
  • A330-200: $238.5 million
  • A330-800neo: $259.9 million
  • A330-300: $264.2 million
  • A330-900neo: $296.4 million
  • A350-800: $280.6 million
  • A350-900: $317.4 million
  • A350-1000: $366.5 million
  • A380: $445.6 million

Is there only one affordable manufacturer?

To determine this, Airways will look at the different categories of aircraft that both manufacturers are currently producing and delivering, and also look more at what the price tag for those aircraft entails.

We will compare the 737MAX program with the A320neo family in terms of their affordability.

737MAX v A320neo
Picture from

For the Boeing 737MAX program, the aircraft units are generally more pricey than the A320neo family. However, it could be because of the passenger numbers that they have on offer to customers. For example:

  • 737MAX7: 138-153 seats in 2 class
  • 737MAX8: 162-178 seats in 2 class
  • 737MAX9: 178-193 seats in 2 class
  • 737MAX10: 188-204 seats in 2 class

To determine this, comparisons between the 737MAX7 and the A319neo will be used. From the start of the MAX program, 153 seats at maximum in a 2 class configuration for the 737MAX7 at a price tag of $85.8 million can be argued to be quite affordable.

When its comparable to that of the A319neo, its competitor, the A319neo can carry only up to 140 passengers in a 2 class configuration, meaning that for $77.4 million, it is nearly a $10 million difference between whether customers want the passenger numbers or whether they want their passenger experience as a whole for this program.

For the nearly $10 million more, the 737MAX7 goes further in nautical miles than the A319neo does. So for that difference, you would get more passengers in your aircraft and be able to carry them further without any fuel stops along the way.

And across the board, it appears to be the similar set of compromises and differences between each aircraft in the MAX family as well as in the NEO families respectively.

With the 737MAX8, for example, looking to improve their range by up to 4,045 miles, it would trump the A320neo’s range by around 500 miles. And as you progress into the MAX9, MAX10, and the A321neo, the differences in the passenger numbers and the distance increases, with Airbus trumping them as the aircraft gets bigger.

The 737MAX9 and MAX10 can do between 3,200-3,500 nautical miles whereas the A321neoLR and normal programmes can do up to 4,000 miles and carry up to 40 passengers more than the MAX 9/10 programmes.

In all, it is really difficult to determine their affordability. If customers want the smaller variations, then the 737MAX7 is the best choice for the job. However, if they want the larger variants, then the A321neo program would be the better option on the range and also better on the passenger numbers.

Boeing 767-300 v Airbus A330neo
Picture from Airbus.

When it comes to the 767-300 program against the newly updated A330neo program, there is one immediate difference: fuel savings.

The NEO programmes, as a whole, created efficiencies of up to 20% in their engines, something that Boeing might not, in particular, had been focusing on in that program.

The A330 programmes—both CEO and NEO—trump the 767 in terms of distance, nearly doubling it in total to 7,250 nautical miles.

The 767 can carry up to 210 passengers, whereas the A330neo and CEO can carry between 247 and 287 passengers, thus trumping it in that respect.

So in this respect, the A330 can trump the 767 programmes on the passenger capacity, it doesn’t in price. The difference between the 767-300 and the A330-200 is in favour of Boeing by around $26.2 million, meaning that for fewer passengers and less distance, the 767 does not trump their opponents, making the A330 program the winner. Again, it is a matter of compromise on whether airlines want the distance or the passenger numbers.

747-8 v A380
air china
Air China BEJ 747-8I Takeoff (LN1499) K66210

Looking at the two super-jumbo competitors—although they aren’t as competitive as their other programmes—there could be a sense of affordability for big investors who may want to save these programmes over the next two years.

There is a staggering $40 million difference between the two aircraft types, making the 747-8 program the winner in affordability.

The 747-8 can travel up to 8,000 nautical miles whereas the A380 trumps it by around 500 miles. However, the A380 has been known to travel up to 8,825 miles on a single tank when it flew from Dubai-Auckland back in March 2016. 

However, for the sake of 500-800 nautical miles, for $40 million cheaper, the 747-8 can cover up to 90% of that distance anyway, so it would seem more cost-effective for the airlines to buy the 747-8.

The 747-8 can carry up to 467 passengers in a 3-class configuration whereas the A380 can carry up to 544 seats in a 3-class configuration. For the sake of under 100 passengers and $40 million less, the 747-8 would not be a bad investment for airlines that can afford them. And let’s not forget, the Boeing 747-8 does not require special gate handling equipment and elevated jet bridges, like the Airbus A380 does.

Again, its a compromise, something that carrier Lufthansa did by buying both of the aircraft types for service and are still in service today.

A350-800/900 v 787 
Picture from Airbus.

When we look at the A350-800/900 against the 787 programmes, Boeing has a similar price tag across their programmes to that of Airbus with the difference between the A350-900 and the 787-10 being around $8.4 million.

The 787-10 can travel up to 7,000 nautical miles whereas the A350-900 can travel up to 8,800 nautical miles on one tank. The 787-10 can carry up to 330 passengers whereas the A350-900 is not that far away with up to 325 seats.

This is a close one to determine as all three factors are relatively similar. The distanced perspective could matter to long-haul carriers wanting to go 1,800 nautical miles further, but with carriers like Emirates having invested in the 787-10 instead of the A350-900, it could mean that the passenger capacity perspective matters more instead to them.

For $8.4 million more, the five extra seats and the extra distance will probably seem like the better investment and the better idea to go as more revenue could be made from those five seats anyway.

A350-1000 v 777
Picture from Boeing.

The A350-1000 in this respect can only be compared to the likes of the 777-300ER. There is only a difference of one inch in terms of its size. The 777-300ER can carry up to 396 passengers and travel around 7,370 nautical miles, with the A350-1000 being able to carry up to 366 passengers and travel further up to 8,000 nautical miles.

There is only a $5 million difference per unit between the two aircraft, with the 777-300ER being the cheaper aircraft.

For $5 million more, customers would lose 30 seats but be able to travel up to 630 miles more than the 777-300ER, but again in this contest, there is no visible winner as again, like with the other aircraft we have compared, it would be down to what the customer would want ultimately.


In conclusion, there is no really easy winner. It would have to be split down into the many different programmes and variants that each manufacturer has on offer.

For the short-haul, in terms of the 737MAX and the A320neo programmes, Boeing would win on the variants that don’t travel as far but carry more passengers whereas, on the further ranged aircraft, Airbus would win and be able to carry more passengers.

For the medium-ranged aircraft like the 767-300 and the A330neo/ceo programmes, it is also a matter of compromise. Airbus wins in the distance and in the price per unit, offering far more in terms of what they offer. Cost savings made on the CEO/NEO programmes would benefit customers but ultimately, the A330 can carry more passengers dependent on the configuration that the carriers put them on, but at the same time, the 767 consumes more fuel and therefore costs more to operate on the long run.

For the battle of the super-jumbos, the more sensible option would be to go with the 747-8. For $40 million less, it may be around an 825 nautical mile difference and under 100 passengers, but the operating costs on the A380 would be subsequently higher and would produce a lesser return on investment if the A380 was purchased as they have to keep it in the air all of the time to make more money. Ultimately, for Boeing, the focus is more on the 777 and for Airbus, it is the A350 programmes.

For the A350-800/900 and the 787 Programmes, Boeing seems to be the winner as with the 777-300ER and the A350-1000. For the little price increases, there is an element of extra performance in terms of range and several more seats can be added within the configurations offered, meaning that Boeing does indeed trump Airbus on this area of the long-haul market.

Boeing would be the more affordable manufacturer to approach on the long-haul perspective but on the more medium-short haul area, Airbus could be seen as the more affordable company to go to. However, rather than us determining it based on the specifications, it will always be the element of what the CEO’s of the airlines believe is affordable for their ever-changing business models in what is a very changeable industry.