Airbus and Boeing have been rivals for years and will continue to stay competitive for a long time as the two biggest aircraft manufacturers in the world. The two companies are competing to be the best aircraft manufacturer and to be the leading in the aviation industry by coming up with new aircraft designs, new technologies and innovations, as well as new approaches to make their aircraft more efficient, cost-effective, and sustainable.
Today, we want to talk about the safety of flying with the aircraft from both Airbus and Boeing. We will be discussing the aircraft designs, the technologies used on the aircraft, and the design principle behind the design of each aircraft manufacturer.
We at ACEs will be looking at all angles of the two aircraft companies including the history of push-back of each company, safety records, and two number of aircrafts trusted and used by airlines around the world.
Keep reading to find out which aircraft family is safer to fly with in this article on Airbus vs Boeing.
Airbus vs Boeing Showdown
Airbus is currently the largest aerospace company by revenue since 2019. Airbus is a European company that manufactures and sells both civil and military aircraft and aerospace products to global customers. Airbus divided their company into three departments including Airbus Commercial Aircraft, Airbus Defence and Space, and Airbus Helicopter.
Their most famous aircraft models are the A320 family which is the most used and the first series to use fly-by-wire technology, and another ground-breaking model that impresses the whole world from Airbus is the A380, the commercial aircraft with 4 engines and double decks.
Boeing was once the largest aerospace company in the world, until 2019 when the Boeing 737 Max crisis took the troll. Boeing is an American multinational corporation, designing, manufacturing, and selling airplanes, helicopters and other rotorcraft, as well as spacecrafts such as rockets, satellites. Boeing also manufactures telecommunication equipment and missiles.
Boeing has many famous airplane series including Boeing 737 that are used and loved by airlines for decades, and Boeing 777 which is famous for its seat capability and long flying range.
Just like cars from different brands have their unique characteristics, airplanes from Airbus and Boeing do too. Airbus and Boeing aircrafts are different not only in technology but the outside looks as well. Just by looking at the aircraft, some might be able to tell which company manufacturer built that particular aircraft.
Let’s look at three main parts of the aircraft exterior from both Airbus and Boeing. We will use the Boeing 737 and Airbus 320, the most famous models of the two for the comparison.
The nose of the aircraft is where the cockpit is at. The nose design of Boeing looks smaller and slimmer when compared to the Airbus’ nose which is more rounded. This makes the Boeing’s nose look much sleeker.
The engines are usually attached to the wings of the aircraft. When looking at the Boeing 737’s engines, you will notice that the engines are a bit flat on the lower end. This is because the 737 is sitting lower to the ground. While Airbus 320 engines look more round and symmetrical since it is taller than the Boeing 737.
Both companies use wingtip devices to help the aircraft reduce drag and enhance fuel efficiency. The Airbus A320 uses wingtip fences which are easy to spot and distinguish, while the original Boeing 737 uses lifting wingtips or the winglets designs. However the updated version of both A320 and B737 use the wingtips that have lower tails or lower aero foils. This style of wingtips from Airbus is called the Sharklets and Boeing called them 737 MAX AT Winglets.
The Philosophy Behind the Aircraft Designs
Now that we talked about the exterior designs of the aircraft, let’s take a look at the principle, the idea, and the belief behind the designs of the aircraft from the two companies. We will look at what Airbus and Boeing believe in, who do they put the trust in the most when it comes to controlling the aircraft. These beliefs definitely affect how they design and manufacture the aircraft as well as the technology used in the aircraft as well.
Boeing place their trust in the pilots’ hand the most. Their aircraft design has the pilots at the center. They make sure that the pilots will have full control of the aircraft at all times. They can always disconnect the autopilot and fly as they see fit.
While this belief sounded perfect, do not forget that human error is always a possibility. In the time of an emergency or attack, having placed all control to the pilot could be bad.
However, the principle of putting the pilot first of Boeing also met a great failure with the Boeing 737 Max in which Boeing let the automatic technology take control over the pilot, causing many lives to end.
On the other hand, Airbus put their trust in machines and technology that have lower chance of error. The autopilot and hard limitations is what Airbus centered their design around. Airbus aircraft have something called “hard limits”. It is the system that will not allow the pilot to exceed certain parameters that will risk the safety of people on board. For example, the pilot won’t be able to stall the aircraft nor exceed the limited pitch or roll parameters.
Airbus’ principle helps reduce the risk from human error which help improve the safety of the aircraft and people’s lives. However, complicated technology and systems can sometimes go wrong when they are not implemented and understood correctly.
Which is Used More by the Airlines
Airbus’ principle helps reduce the risk from human error which help improve the safety of the aircraft and people’s live
From the current situation, Airbus is now the king of the sky, it is the most used for scheduled flights. In 2021, 9.3 million flights are scheduled with Airbus aircrafts. Boeing is the second with 8.4 millions flights.
Unlike Boeing, Airbus did not have to ground nor stop the manufacturing of any series. Allowing them to deliver more aircrafts and step up to the leading role of the aircraft manufacture.
Big Push Backs of Airbus vs Boeing
Let’s start with the big failure of Airbus with their A380 double-decker airplane. The A380 sure is luxurious and sounded like a perfect airplane for many airlines. However, the sales have been slow and more than 40% of the orders are from only one airline, the Emirates. Which is clear that the A380 does not fit what the airlines really need.
The push back of Airbus will sound like nothing compared to the great failure of Boeing with their Boeing 737 Max.
The failed upgrade from Boeing 737 New-Generation to 737 Max caused many malfunctions, accidents, and even two crashes back-to-back. This led to the grounding of all 737 Max and the pause of 737 Max production.
Read more about Boeing 737 Max to find out what is wrong with the aircrafts, the awful reasons behind the failure, and everything you should know about the 737 Max.
Safety Record : Airbus vs Boeing
No matter how safe the aircrafts are built and designed, error will always happen whether it is human error or system error. The safety records are compared using the number of crashes and accidents as the determinator.
Frankly said, the safety record of the two plane makers are completely different, Airbus is winning in safety record with a clear score. Airbus has a total of 86 crashes or accidents out of all the models, while for Boeing, the 737 series alone has 147 accidents and crashes in total.
However, when considering the length of service and numbers of aircraft delivered, it makes sense why the number of Boeing’s accidents is much higher. That is because the Boeing accident rate is approximately 1 in 16 million flight hours while Airbus accident rates is lower with 1 in 14 million flight hours.
To determine which company produced the safer aircrafts is not easy, since there are many aspects we must consider. Each company has their ups and downs as well as advantages and disadvantages in different aspects. The aircrafts from Airbus and Boeing are designed with different beliefs, which makes the comparison for the safety of each company become almost impossible. So, you, as a customer and passenger, should use all this information and decide for yourself as to which aircrafts you can trust and fly at ease.