Airbus A330neo Vs A Potential Boeing 767X – Which Aircraft Is Better?

Only a few days ago Boeing revealed that they might be considering offering a revamped 767, with better engines and better economics, as we wait for a new clean sheet 797 design. Plus with Airbus starting to make market progress their A330neo series, Boeing is more than keen to stop their rival from getting the upper hand.

United Boeing 767-300ER
United maintains an aging fleet of 767s. Photo: United Airlines

But if Boeing brought a 767X to the market today, what would it be like? And would it be better than the A330neo?

What is the Boeing 767X?

Before we compare the two, we should define what the 767X actually is.

Boeing is reportedly contemplating a new version of the popular freight 767, building in new GEnx turbofan jet engines. With many companies looking to replace their aging fleets of 757 and 767 freighters, Boeing has realized that they can offer the ‘same’ product with better financials. But once the factories are spun up and Boeing is producing these aircraft, what is to stop them adding in seats and producing a passenger variant?

The 767X would be an improvement on the 767 design, specifically the 767-400ER which is arguably the most advanced variant of the aircraft. We have used their specifics below.

There have been some more outlandish designs of the Boeing 767 floating around the internet, including a reverse hump model (a backward 747 essentially) that could carry an extra fifty passengers. We don’t believe that Boeing will modify the airframe for this new aircraft so we will use the design dimensions of the previous 767 model.

The Boeing 767X was previously envisioned to be very different. Photo: Boeing

How will we compare the aircraft?

Although the passenger version of the Boeing 767X has yet to be confirmed and, likewise, Airbus is yet to secure orders for an A330neo freighter, we will look at the more interesting passenger option to compare the two types.

Additionally, there are actually two versions of the A330neo, the A330-800neo, and the A330-900neo. The A330-900neo is designed to compete with the Boeing 777 series, whilst the smaller A330-800neo to replace the aging 767 design.

You can check out a video of the A330-900neo here:

The Airbus A330-800neo vs Boeing 767X

Here is a brief overview of the specifications of each aircraft.

The Airbus A330-800neo carries 257 passengers in a three-class configuration, and just over 400 if the entire aircraft was lined with tiny economy seats (let’s not give any airlines any ideas). These seats are in a 9-across configuration of 3-3-3. The aircraft has a range of 8,150nmi / 15,094 km and a max payload of 44 tonnes.

The Boeing 767X, on the other hand, would carry 243 passengers in a three-class configuration, and 400 if all economy. The previous 767-400ER has a range of 5,625 nmi / 10,415 km but likely the new version would add on at least another 1,500 nmi (matching the 787-8s 7,635 nmi (14,140 km) range). This would put it in a competing distance of the A330neo.

Looking at the above two aircraft you will notice that they are practically matched one for one in passengers and range. So perhaps it won’t come down to specifications, but for more airline-specific reasons.

What about the price?

The aircraft has the following list prices:

  • A330-800neo – US $259.9 M (2018)
  • Boeing 767-400 –  US $220.3 M (2019)

As we can see, all those technical improvements and clean-sheet designs of the A330neo series come at a cost. Airlines looking to expand their fleet on a budget might consider the cheaper alternative.

Airbus A330neo Vs A Potential Boeing 767X – Which Aircraft Is Better?
Airbus A330neo. Photo: Hi Fly

Final points

Additionally, we should note that Boeing has an essentially empty 767 production line (only producing a few units per year) that they could easily ramp up. Airbus, however, has a maxed-out A330 production line and would not be able to deliver their aircraft as fast. For an airline where time is money, this could be a deal-breaker.

If the airline considering this choice already had a Boeing 767 fleet, they could integrate the Boeing 767X without having to retrain pilots (it would likely have the same type rating) or cabin crew, saving thousands.

At the end of the day, which aircraft is better depends on how patient you are and how much you want to spend. If you want a clean sheet design that comes with improvements such as better pressurization, winglets and more, then the A330neo is perfect. However, if you want a workhorse that has been proven and is already a good fit for your fleet, then the Boeing 767X might be exactly what you are looking for.