The Boeing 787-9 Is The Top Aircraft For Transatlantic Flights

The Boeing 787-9 is the leading aircraft between North America and Europe this year, overtaking the previous winner: the A330-300. The death of quads is clear to see, with none now making the top-10 aircraft list and the A321neo now very close to exceeding seats by them.

The Boeing 787-9 Is The Top Aircraft For Transatlantic Flights
The B787-9 is now the number one aircraft flying between Europe and North America. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Some 21 types of passenger aircraft are scheduled to operate between North America and Europe this year. The B787-9 is the most common, analyzing OAG data indicates, followed by the A330-300, B777-300ER, B777-200ER, and A350-900. The top-10 are:

  1. B787-9: 8.2 million seats
  2. A330-300: 8.1 million
  3. B777-300ER: 7.4 million
  4. B777-200ER: 6.6 million
  5. A350-900: 3.8 million
  6. B767-300ER: 3.5 million
  7. A330-200: 3.4 million
  8. B787-8: 2.9 million
  9. B787-10: 2.7 million
  10. A321neo: 1.6 million

The Boeing 737 MAX 8 and 9 are in the list too, although in 19th and 21st position, respectively. Icelandair, Air Canada, and WestJet are all planning to use them on the transatlantic. Last month, Simple Flying looked at where Icelandair plans to fly its MAX aircraft.

The Boeing 787-9 Is The Top Aircraft For Transatlantic Flights
The top-10 aircraft have changed markedly in two years because of retirements given coronavirus. Then, the A330-300 (as pictured) was the top aircraft, but it is now second. Then, the B747-400 was fifth and A380 eighth, but they’re no longer on the list. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

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Combining them

The picture is somewhat different if aircraft series are combined:

  1. B777: 14.1 million seats
  2. B787: 13.7 million
  3. A330: 11.6 million
  4. A350: 5.2 million
  5. B767: 4.9 million
  6. B747: 1.6 million

While not surprising, the fall of the B747 from North America to Europe is very plain to see. Indeed, the B747-8 now has nearly twice as many seats as the venerable -400 because of Lufthansa’s strong use of them. It is a far cry from when British Airways operated the -400.

The Boeing 787-9 Is The Top Aircraft For Transatlantic Flights
The A340-300 is now the largest four-engine aircraft across the North Atlantic. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

The A321neo will soon pass all quads

This year, the A380 has more seats scheduled than the B747-400. However, it is the A340-300 that is the now largest four-engine machine across the North Atlantic with Lufthansa, SWISS, Air Belgium and Edelweiss using it. The A340-600 has been consigned to the history books in this market following the retirement of the type by Virgin Atlantic and Lufthansa.

Growing quickly is the A321neo. The narrowbody has just 650,000 fewer seats than all quads put together and it won’t be long before they’re overtaken. Aer Lingus is the leading operator of the A321neo in this market. JetBlue will launch London with the type, while Aer Lingus will use it from Manchester to New York JFK and Boston.

The Boeing 787-9 Is The Top Aircraft For Transatlantic Flights
This year, quads have a 6% share of all Europe-North America capacity, down from 16% just two years ago. The A340-600, seen here, is no longer operated across the North Atlantic. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying.

More aircraft could be added

Although 21 types are used, it could have been 22. The rare B767-200ER could have been included because Eastern Airlines filed to use it on its once-a-week non-stop between Chicago and Sarajevo. This market is based on the Bosnian diaspora and visiting friends and relatives (VFR) demand. However, the route is no longer bookable, so the aircraft has been excluded.

The Boeing 787-9 Is The Top Aircraft For Transatlantic Flights
Eastern Airlines filed to use the B767-200ER from Chicago to Sarajevo. Photo: BriYYZ via Wikimedia.

In fact, the list could grow to 24. The Dash-8-200 and Q400 could be included too, but this depends on whether readers consider Greenland to be part of North America or Europe or not; that’s for them to decide. If they think it’s part of the North American continent, links between Iceland and Greenland could be included, such as Reykjavik to Nuuk, which is operated up to three-weekly with a block time of three hours and 20 minutes.

What is your favorite aircraft from North America to Europe? Comment below!

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