Boeing 787s or Airbus 380 for Los Angeles to Japan market?





Boeing 787s or Airbus 380 for Los Angeles to Japan market?


The Boeing 787 and the Airbus 380 are both powerful planes with the capacity to generate sizeable income for the airlines. However, a study must be done in order to assess and compare the two planes, and make a firm decision, on which of the two should be used in serving the Los Angeles to Japan routes. The selection criteria used will be based on the market impact, the specifications of the aircrafts that are most relevant to the specific market, the profitability of the aircraft, and the safety of the aircraft while on the routes. It also important to consider issues such as integration of the aircrafts into the airline fleets. Therefore, the report presented to the Board of Directors will be clearly outlined into sections that provide information on the market, specifications, and safety of the aircrafts in the specific routes in order to provide the basis for the choice of aircraft.


The United Airline Market is expansive, and thus has considerable traffic flow to the Japanese towns, Narita, Chitose, and Nagasaki. Narita is the most common final destination for the aircrafts. Currently, the airline service provides direct and non-stop service to Narita, but do not move forward to Chitose and Nagasaki. Therefore, the Japanese carriers take up the task further and carry forward the traffic into Chitose and Nagasaki.

            The traffic flow to Chitose and Nagasaki is quite significant that should be explored by the United Airlines Corporation. There is a ready market for the airlines; however, the United States- Japan bilateral agreement will allow the airline to explore further the market provided by the Chitose and Nagasaki routes. Therefore, with the availability of a market, that will prove to be profitable, it is essential to select an aircraft that will operate on maximum profit levels, and at the same time, service the routes adequately.


The aircraft specifications are an important aspect to consider when deciding the choice of the aircraft. There are two options in this study, which are the Airbus 380, and the Boeing 747. The Airbus 380 is a jetliner, with four engines, considered the world’s largest passenger aircraft, with a cabin that has approximately 480square meters of floor space. It has a seating capacity of about 520 passengers in the three-class arrangement and up to 850 passengers in the economy class provision (Norris and Wagner 9). This allows the aircraft to serve the market sufficiently, and even allowing room in case the market expands. The aircraft can fly nonstop at about a speed of 900km/hr, which is sufficient in the Los Angeles- Japan route. The passenger provisions in the aircraft are designed in a way that provides comfort, reduces fatigue and jetlag, with less cabin noise, wider seats, and premium cabins that have extra amenities such as spas, a bar, and larger lounge areas. The distance from the United States to Japan is long, and therefore an aircraft with such specifications is relevant to the market it aims to serve.

            The Boeing 747, is a jetliner, as well as a cargo aircraft, with a speed of about 920km/hr. its passenger models can accommodate at least 410 passengers in the three-class provision, 520 passengers in the two-class provisions, and finally about 660 passengers in the one-class provision (Sutter and Spenser 13). It has an upper deck that serves as a lounge for extra seating, or one that is easily changed to a cargo carrier. The seats can be easily removed in order to create room for cargo (Haenggi 7). This aspect makes the plane for suitable for cargo deliveries. Much as it is the longest aircraft, at about 230ft, that can accommodate more passengers, it lacks some of the important specifications that are necessary and of advantage to a passenger aircraft. Therefore, it would not be the best option to pick when choosing an aircraft to serve the United States- Japanese routes.


The table below shows the operating costs of the Airbus 380 and the Boeing 747. To calculate the operating costs for the Airbus 380, a rate of 10.8¢ has been used per available seat-mile (ASM) and for the Boeing 747, a rate of 11.5¢ per available seat-mile (ASM).

Airbus 380 Total Operational Cost Boeing 747 Total Operational Cost
three-class arrangement 520*10.8¢= 5616 410*11.5¢= 4715
two-class provisions 850*10.8¢=9180 520*11.5¢=5980
one class provision   660*11.5¢=7590
Total 14796¢ 18285¢

            From the table above, it is evident that operating cost for the Boeing 747 is higher than that of the Airbus 380. Despite the fact that the customers will add an extra 20% charge for the further service into Chitose and Nagasaki, the Airbus 380 will still be operating at a lower cost.


The Airbus 380 will be safe for the routes as it is primarily a passenger aircraft; therefore, it is designed to accommodate human beings, with proper mechanics that enhance the safety of the plane. Additionally, the material used can sustain long distances of flying.

The Boeing 747 may not be as safe for flying the Japanese routes. This is mainly because they are also designed for cargo. Therefore, its design lacks some of the features an exclusive passenger plane would possess, reducing its safeness to use as a passenger aircraft.


The Airbus 380, which covers an area of about 5,000 square feet, can easily be accommodated in the UAL hangars. Additionally, its low operating costs will make it easier and more profitable to manage. Therefore, it will have minimum maintenance support, and require fewer infrastructures for integration into airline fleet.

The Boeing 747 is much difficult to integrate into the UAL fleets because it will be more costly to train the aircrew, because of the upper deck cargo provision. Additionally, it has a higher operational cost and would therefore, be more tasking to integrate it into the UAL fleet.


This report was necessary in order to weigh the options in selecting the appropriate aircraft to use to service the Japanese routes. The Airbus 380 is evidently the better choice as it has lower operational costs, has excellent and passenger friendly designs, and is built to fly nonstop over long distances. Therefore, I would recommend the Airline to purchase at least 10 Airbus 380, in order to serve the routes.

Works Cited

Haenggi, Michael. Boeing Widebodies. St. Paul, Minn.: MBI, 2005. Print.

Norris, Guy, and Mark Wagner. Airbus A380. St. Paul, MN: Zenith Press, 2005. Print.

Sutter, Joseph F, and Jay P Spenser. 747. New York: Smithsonian, 2006. Print.

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