Here at AeroTime we’ve gathered data and compiled a list of the world’s top 10 biggest commercial aircraft in 2023.
They’ve been ranked in ascending order according to their maximum passenger capacity, starting with aircraft that can accommodate a few hundred passengers, and ending with the largest.
10. Airbus A350-900
The Airbus A350 is a long-haul passenger aircraft with a range of up to 15,000 km and a capacity of 300 to 350 passengers. Within the market, it competes with the Boeing 787-10 and 777 series, as well as the new Boeing 777X that will arrive with customers in 2025. Singapore Airlines (SIA1) (SINGY) is the largest operator of A350-900 aircraft.
As of October 2023, the A350 Family had received 1056 firm orders and delivered 565 planes worldwide, making it one of the most successful wide-body aircraft ever.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, some A350s were converted into cargo aircraft to transport medical equipment and other supplies. The A350 freighter can carry a cargo of up to 104 tonnes.
9. Boeing 747-400
The Boeing 747-400 is a passenger aircraft manufactured by Boeing in the US, with a capacity to accommodate up to 416 passengers in a three-class configuration, 524 in a two-class configuration, or 660 in an all-economy cabin. It has a travel range of 7,260 nautical miles or 13,446 kilometers.
The 747-400 was a major development of the 747 series, with several structural and electronic improvements, and it made its inaugural flight on April 29, 1988.
In 2020, the coronavirus pandemic significantly impacted the aviation industry, and many airlines, including British Airways, retired their entire fleet of Boeing 747 aircraft. As a result, the largest operator of the 747-400 has now become Lufthansa, which has 8 of the type (they are set to be replaced with the Boeing 777X in 2025).
8. Airbus A340-500
The Airbus A340-500 is a wide-body passenger aircraft manufactured in France. First introduced in 2002, it was designed to carry up to 372 passengers in a single-class configuration and 313 passengers in a typical two-class configuration.
As of April 2023, there are no A340-500s in commercial airline service. The last two of its type were retired by Azerbaijan Airlines in 2019.
7. Airbus A340-300
The Airbus A340-300 is a long-range French-manufactured passenger aircraft that first entered service back in 1993. It has a seating capacity of 295 passengers in a single-class configuration and 267 passengers in a typical two-class configuration.
The largest operator of the A340 is Lufthansa (LHAB) (LHA), with a fleet of 17 aircraft. However, Iberia, which previously operated 21 A340s, announced the retirement of the type in June 2020 due to the high costs and unsuitability of four-engine aircraft.
6. Airbus A330-300
Airbus A330-300 is a widebody aircraft that first entered service on November 2, 1992. It has a passenger capacity that ranges from 250 to 440, depending on the seat configuration chosen by the airline. Some of its main users include Turkish Airlines, Air China, China Eastern Airlines (CIAH) (CEA), China Southern Airlines (ZNH), and Cathay Pacific.
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic led to a significant decrease in passenger traffic and a corresponding increase in air cargo demand and pricing. To meet this demand, Airbus introduced a new cargo conversion solution for its A330, which can handle cargo of up to 61 tonnes.
5. Boeing 777-200
The Boeing 777-200 is a passenger plane manufactured in the United States (US). It can accommodate up to 440 passengers in a single-class configuration and 400 in a typical two-class configuration. It has a travel range of up to 7,700 nautical miles or 14,260 kilometers, depending on the version.
Although retirements of the Boeing 777-200 began before the COVID-19 pandemic, some airlines like British Airways and Air France still operate them. However, Singapore and Delta Airlines (DAL) have retired them completely.
4. Airbus A340-600
The Airbus A340-600 is a four-engine wide-body aircraft that can carry up to 475 passengers, making it the largest member of the A340 family. It was introduced in 2002 and has been used by various airlines worldwide.
3. Boeing 777-300
The Boeing 777-300 is a wide-body passenger plane manufactured in the US with a seating capacity of up to 550 passengers in a single-class configuration and 451 passengers in a typical two-class configuration. It has a travel range of up to 7,370 nautical miles or 13,650 kilometers, depending on the version.
Emirates is one of the largest operators of the Boeing 777, with a fleet of 134 aircraft as of November 2023.
2. Boeing 747-8
The Boeing 747-8 is a passenger airplane manufactured in the US. It has the capacity to accommodate up to 467 passengers in a three-class configuration and has a maximum capacity of 605 passengers. The aircraft has a travel range of 8,000 nautical miles or 14,816 kilometers.
Lufthansa (LHAB) (LHA) was the first airline to order the 747-8 in 2006, followed by Korean Air and Air China. In 2011, the last order for a passenger version of the 747-8 was received for the US President’s Air Force One transport plane, which is scheduled to be delivered in 2024.
As a result of poor demand, Boeing delivered the final 747 in January 2023 and said goodbye to the ‘Queen of the Skies’. Boeing plans to replace the 747-8 with its newest offering, the Boeing 777X, which is expected to enter service during the next 2 years. As of now, more than 11 airlines, including All Nippon Airways, Qatar, and Lufthansa (LHAB) (LHA), have ordered a total of 363 units of the 777X.
1. Airbus A380-800
Making the top spot in our list, the Airbus A380-800, a French-made passenger plane, has the capacity for 853 passengers in a single class or 644 in a two-tiered class and can travel up to 8,208 nautical miles or 15,200 kilometers.
The type first flew on 27 April 2005 and as of December 2021, 254 aircraft have been manufactured. However, due to poor sales, Airbus announced the retirement of the A380-800 in 2021.
Airbus A380-800 had 14 customers in total and 251 firm orders.
Emirates, with 104 A380s in its fleet, is the main operator of this aircraft. As of March 2023, Air France has formally announced the retirement of its entire A380 fleet. In October 2023, Lufthansa reintroduced four A380s, that are now based in Munich.
Singapore Airlines had already retired some A380s before the last batch was delivered, but at its peak, it operated around 20 A380s, making it the second largest operator of this aircraft type after Emirates. Currently, only 10 of Singapore Airlines’ A380s are in operation.
A table: Top 10 biggest commercial planes in the world in 2023
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