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August 03, 2004

"Go Airbus!" he cheered, quietly


Native-born Seattleites such as I tend to reflexively favor Boeing aircraft. It’s hard not to develop such loyalty when half your childhood friends had Boeing-employed parents. I grew up checking each plane that flew overhead to see if it was "one of ours" or a competitor’s.

But my regard for the Seattle-built jet maker is tarnished substantially now, because Boeing, not its current rival Airbus, is wearing the black hat in the present airplane sale wars.

Although neither Boeing’s newest airplane, the 7E7, nor Airbus’s newest, the A380, are flying in anything but computer simulations yet, the two models are already locked in a desperate struggle to dominate the future of commercial aviation. The 7E7 is billed, by Boeing, as a nimble, efficient, versatile plane that makes a huge leap in fuel efficiency over its predecessors. The A380 is billed, by Boeing, as a gluttonous behemoth of an aircraft—two stories and 555 seats.

But, as I said in a Seattle Times op-ed today, the Airbus plane is actually the more efficient in energy use, per passenger-mile.

Posted by Alan Durning

Posted by Northwest Environment Watch | Permalink


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I think your letter to the editor in the Seattle Times (8/3/04) was unfair to Boeing. They have put together an impressively efficient plane and its CO2 emission per passenger/mile is the best in its class. It's true that the larger Airbus plane will have less emission per mile per passenger, but that's not the fair comparison. What you should compare is emission per passenger per TRIP. Since you are more likely to take a non-stop or at least more direct trip with the smaller plane your total emissions might be less. I'm not saying that the 7E7 is better (from a CO2 standard) than the A380, only that the fair comparison is per trip, not per mile. I would be interested in seeing the fair comparison, since its not obvious which plane would be best.

Now the Sonic Cruiser, there you would have clearly been correct.

Andy Silber
Chair, Climate Rangers

Posted by: Andy Silber | Aug 4, 2004 11:19:44 AM

One other factor to consider is the apparent need for massive airport (re)construction necessary to fit the larger A380 at the gates.

Posted by: David Huffaker | Aug 6, 2004 11:05:58 AM