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 767-400ERBoeing 787-8
Length61.40 m/201 ft 5 in56.69 m/186 ft
Wingspan51.90 m/170 ft 3 in60.17 m/197 ft 5 in
Wing area291.00 m2/3,132 ft2347.00 m2/3,735 ft2
Height16.80 m/55 ft 1 in17.00 m/55 ft 9 in
Engines22
Thrust per engine282 kN/63,500 lbf285 kN/64,000 lbf
Rotal thrust564 kN/127,000 lbf570 kN/128,000 lbf
MTOW204,120 kgs/450,000 lbs227,930 kgs/502,000 lbs
Range10,454 km/5,645 nm14,530 km/7,846 nm
Cruise speedM0.8M0.85
Capacity245 passengers242 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.

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

Passengers

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.

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.

Qatar
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.

Range

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.

Fuel
This graph keeps on giving. Photo: Wikimedia

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

Which is more popular?

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.

2 comments
  1. I don’t understand how you can say that one is ‘better’ than the other. I think your reviews should be limited to comparisons. Not to which one is ‘better’

  2. “the 787-8 has a greater wingspan than 767 and thus is designed to be more fuel efficient”
    This is very misleading as it is only half of the story. The B767 was designed to be a Class4 aircraft that has a 52m wingspan limit to serve certain restricted airports while the B787 was designed to be a Class5 aircraft that has a wingspan limit of 64m.
    I also don’t see the point of the finding out which aircraft is better since the B787-8 definitely has to be better as it is designed as the direct replacement of the B767-400ER.

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