747 800

What airplane is now the largest commercial plane, the new Boeing 747-8 or the Airbus A380?

Going by the numbers, while the new Boeing 747-8 is slightly longer than the Airbus A380-800, at 76.25 meters compared to the A380-800’s length of 73 meters, the A380-800 is still taller, has a larger wingspan and has a higher maximum take off weight.

However … neither the Boeing 747-8 nor Airbus A380-800 are the largest commercial aircraft presently flying through the skies.  The largest commercial aircraft in operation is in fact the massive Antonov AN-225 Mriya.

The AN-225, which entered service in December 1988, is very distinctive with six engines, three per wing and two tails. The AN-225s fuselage length is a mind blowing 84 meters, its wing span is 88.4 meters, its cargo capacity can swallow up a massive 46,000 cubic feet of cargo and its maximum take off weight is an unbelievable 1,323,000 pounds!

By comparison, the Boeing 747-8F can hold 30,177 cubic feet of cargo with a maximum take off weight of 975,000 pounds. The Airbus A380-800F can hold 40,000 cubic feet of cargo with a maximum take off weight of 1,200,000 pounds.

It should be noted that Airbus has not produced a cargo version of the Airbus A380 at this time and has no cargo customers on the books for an A380-800F. The current Boeing 747-8 aircraft undergoing tests for certification are all cargo aircraft, the 747-8F. There is presently only a single AN-225 in service and it is cargo only.  These three aircraft however are the three largest commercial aircraft currently flying and the design of the AN-225 makes it uniquely capable of loading massive items in a way the Airbus A380F would not be able to, should Airbus source cargo variant customers.

Above is a compassion graphic of the 747-400, A380-800 and AN-225 that was supplied to me by Antonov a while back.

Frankfurt am Main (Rhein-Main AB) (FRA / FRF / EDDF)
The new terminal A extension pier with the long-distance train station in the background and the skyline of Frankfurt visible as well. All Lufthansa long-haul types present: 747-400, A380-800, A340-600, A330, another 747-400, 747-8 and A340-300.