When you think of aviation you can’t ignore the fact that Airbus and Boeing are the kings of the industry, they control over 90% of the skies. Airbus is a French company whereas Boeing is American. Other players in the game include Cessna(USA), Bombardier(Canada). These companies indeed control an industry that keeps other industries running.
If you compare them by market capitalization then Boeing comes out on the top. Boeing is valued at $93.68B at the time of this article and its highest-ever valuation was recorded at $248.72B on March 1, 2013. Airbus is slightly less valued at $48.98B with the highest ever valuation at $119.82B on January 22, 2020. Each share of Boeing costing $165.58 and for Airbus, it is $73.23.
There have been a few recessions in aviation history but none worse than the COVID-19 one. It has reached such heights which no one anticipated and saw coming. In the hundred year history of the commercial flight, the industry has not seen such a low demand for tickets. The largest airlines in the world are recording record losses and the industry experts predict this to be a long battle. The situation has worsened so much that some low profiting airlines are shutting their doors forever, because of the losses. Almost all of the planes are on the ground gathering dust. Even if the planes are filling their seats they can’t book 100% of the seats because by law they are not supposed to book the middle seat because of social distancing, as a result, they can only fully operate at 67% capacity.
THE GREAT RIVALRY
Both the companies what they are today are a result of many companies that merged together to form these giants. Unlike Airbus, Boeing has a defense department and an aerospace department which gets contracts on a regular basis.
Over the years the Airbus has come out to victories in some ways or the other as it is slowly eating into the Boeing’s pie of ht large commercial aircraft by scaling up quickly in a booming aviation market. To this day, Boeing has delivered more than 10,000 units of its bestselling 737 family since its inception in 1968 whereas the Airbus A320 which hit the market two decades later in 1988 has sold more than 8,000 units sold.
Although Boeing earns its revenue from just two geographic areas namely the USA and the Asia pacific, its revenues are more concentrated in the USA unlike the Airbus, which has a better diversification. Airbus also earns higher revenue from the Asia Pacific, which Boeing too recognizes to be a crucial market for future growth.
The arch rivalry is needed in every industry to keep the industry competitive and innovative. For example take iOS vs Android, Ford vs GM, Coke vs Pepsi, Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi (even though they represent a sport, not an industry).
A Little Bit of History:-
Compared to Boeing Airbus is relatively a new company forming in 1970 while Boeing was formed during World War I in 1916. However, it was not always like this.
Boeing came into the industry by launching its first-ever aircraft, the B&W Seaplane in 1916 and since then it has never looked back. Boeing introduced its first commercial jetliner the 707 in 1958. The launch of the infamous 747 came at a later time in the 1970s further strengthening Boeing’s leg in commercial aviation.
Rival Airbus had a modest beginning from the launch of the A300B which is based on the A300 wide-body jetliner. Airbus received its first order for the A300B from Air France in 1970. However, Airbus didn’t become a significant competitor to Boeing until the 1990s when it started launching several competing products such as the A330 and the A340.
A few decades back you could hear other names such as McDonnell Douglas, Fokker, Convair. The company Airbus was formed as an agreement signed in July 1967 by the French, German, and the British government to strengthen their presence in the aviation industry.
There are three terms that will help us understand the naming of airplanes more easily. These are:-
The company that builds, designs, and sells airplanes usually that is Boeing or Airbus.
Each manufacturer develops families which are a collection of a few planes that are very similar to one another but very different in planes to aircraft families.
Variants on the same family look identical to each other and share the majority of the same components but differ slightly in range and passenger capacity.
AIRBUS- “Own the Sky”
Airbus has a diversified lineup on which planes of all sizes are offered to range from A318 to the mighty A380. It gives the airline companies a lot to choose from.
They have a simple naming system. All their planes start with the letter “A” and the number “3”. The first plane in this lineup is the A318. As the number increases the size of the plane also increases, maxing out at A380. There is an exception to this rule as one of Airbus’s planes use to start from A220 because it wasn’t designed by Airbus rather it was designed by Bombardier, the Canadian manufacturer, which was originally called C series before Airbus acquired the program. Because it was acquired and not designed and within the company, it did not fall into the naming category.
Generally, there is also another number attached to the plane (for example A350–900). Also generally, the larger this second number is the more passengers it can carry. Again this naming scheme comes with a letter attached to it which symbolizes the range of the airplane. These are listed as follows:-
1. ER- Extended Range
2. LR- Long Range
3. XLR- Extra Long Range
4. ULR- Ultra Long Range
BOEING- “Forever New Frontier”
Boeing too has a pretty diversified lineup just like the Airbus. It offers a plane for all segments for which the Airbus offers. For example, the 747 competes with the mighty A380 and Boeing 737 competes with the A320.
The naming of Boeing has the number “7” at the end and the starting of any name and the middle number really describes the aircraft family. A common misconception is that the higher the middle number the larger the airplane family but it is not at all. This middle number actually dictates how new the aircraft family is. Barring an exception the larger the middle number is, the more the airlane family was developed.
Like Airbus, Boeing always has a number attached to it. This signifies the variant further with range and passenger capacity.
HOW TO IDENTIFY WHICH PLANE IS WHICH?
- The very first thing to identify in planes is the shape of the cockpit windows, especially the last window. Airbus has rounded windows whereas Boeing, on the other hand, has “V” shaped windows.
- Another easy way of telling the difference is by looking at the nose of the plane. Airbus usually has a rounded nose whereas Boeing has more like a curved nose or a nose set at an angle.
- The size of the air intake of the engines varies in both of them. Airbus has a completely rounded air intake in their engines but Boeing has an air intake that is flat at the bottom and rounded in the rest of the direction. Aerodynamically one isn’t better than the other rather it is just a design choice.
- If you pay attention you can find a hump on the 747, it is done so as to convert the planes into cargo aircraft after their commercial retirement so as accommodate more stuff in it whereas the A380 has a uniform oval shape throughout the plane.
SPECIALTY OF BOTH (Interesting Facts & Theories)
- Airline companies generally sell more tickets than the number of seats that they have. In short, this is done considering the fact that there will be someone who will miss their flight and as a result, he will let the seat go waste and if the airline fills the seat they can make out more money than a previous flight could. Hence, an intelligent backhand business plan.
Watch the amazing video for more information on the topic:-
- One of the stupidest mistakes that American Airlines did back in the day was to sold $250,000 unlimited travel pass to anywhere for a lifetime. This was done because the AA was in desperate need of money and they came up with this plan to gain more momentum financially but the things didn’t go as planned. They did not consider the super traveler. This program has turned out to be unsuccessful as it is now costing money to the airlines.
Watch the video to learn more on the topic:
- How Emirates is making the “unprofitable” A380 profitable, watch the video to learn more: