The Boeing 767-400ER vs 787-8 – What Plane Is Better?

Boeing managed to catch lightning in a bottle with the 767. It was popular with airlines, a worthy rival to the Airbus A300 and found a second life as a perfect freight aircraft. However, attempts to modernize the aircraft or build a new one to match it from the ground up have been met with mixed results.

767 787
The Boeing 767-400ER vs Boeing 787-8. Photo: Simple Flying

That is until the Boeing 787-8 arrived.

Despite the Boeing 767-400ER being in the same ‘class’ as the Boeing 787-8, the latter has totally outsold the older jet 10-1, even accounting for differences of availability and production runs. Let’s see if there is a reason for that.

Boeing 767-400ER vs Boeing 787-8

Like all of our VS articles, let’s slap these two bad boys down next to each other on a range of different specifications.

Boeing 767-400ER Boeing 787-8
Length 61.40 m/201 ft 5 in 56.69 m/186 ft
Wingspan 51.90 m/170 ft 3 in 60.17 m/197 ft 5 in
Wing area 291.00 m2/3,132 ft2 347.00 m2/3,735 ft2
Height 16.80 m/55 ft 1 in 17.00 m/55 ft 9 in
Engines 2 2
Thrust per engine 282 kN/63,500 lbf 285 kN/64,000 lbf
Rotal thrust 564 kN/127,000 lbf 570 kN/128,000 lbf
MTOW 204,120 kgs/450,000 lbs 227,930 kgs/502,000 lbs
Range 10,454 km/5,645 nm 14,530 km/7,846 nm
Cruise speed M0.8 M0.85
Capacity 245 passengers 242 passengers

Keeping in mind that the Boeing 767-400ER was built in 2000 and the 787-8 was built in 2009, the differences in design principles between the two is quite clear when you look at their specifications. For example, the 787-8 has a greater wingspan than 767 and thus is designed to be more fuel efficient. Conversely, the 767 is longer than the 787 but does not carry more many more passengers.

The first Boeing 767 takes flight in Seattle. Photo: Wikimedia


Looking at passengers, we can see that both aircraft are about the same capacity wise. The Boeing 767-400ER is actually the biggest version of the 767, whilst the 787-8 is the smallest of the Dreamliner 787 series.

The Boeing 767-400ER vs 787-8 – What Plane Is Better?
How The Boeing 787-8 (Black Outline) shapes up compared to other planes. Photo: Wikimedia

Both aircraft have their passengers in a two-aisle configuration, with the 787 having a cabin width of 5.49 m and the 767 smaller with a 4.72 m Cabin width. Thus the 787 can be shorter but fit the ‘same’ amount of passengers.

A Qatar Boeing 787-8 with lie-flat business class seats. Photo: Wikimedia

But we should mention that the 787 is far more comfortable to fly in, with better air pressure, bigger windows, more overhead bin space and a multitude of different passenger improvements.

We can say that this is a draw.


Despite having the name 767-400 ‘Extra Range’, the ER is left in the dust by the mighty 787-8 which can fly an extra 4,000 km. This is the equivalent of San Diego to New York on top of the range of the 767.

An easy contest that the older 767 didn’t even stand a chance of winning.

Winner: 787-8

Fuel Efficiency

Now, this is a bit of a loaded question as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner is famous for being fuel efficient, using technologies such as a massive wing area and a composite structure.

This graph keeps on giving. Photo: Wikimedia

The Boeing 787-8 is better at managing its fuel than the 767, hands down.

The last step is to see which is more popular:

  • 767-400ER sales – 38
  • 787-8 sales – 444

As we can see, the Boeing 787-8 was far more popular with airlines than the 767. Part of this was because the 787-8 was announced only a year after the 767-400ER took to the skies. As the industry was in a downturn at the time, airlines were looking for a cheaper aircraft to operate and one that could outperform the 767 series.

We could argue that the 787 is not just better than the 767 for airlines, but also that the 767-400ER never really got a chance due to market forces.

What do you think? Is the 767-400ER better than the 787-8? Let us know in the comments.