The British Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has dismissed a claim by Airbus regarding statements in a Boeing ad. Airbus protested after Boeing ran an ad claiming that the 747-8 has better fuel burn versus the A380 under certain conditions. You can read more about this here and here. The ASA believes that the audience will understand the underlying assumptions. If that is the case, why would Airbus and Boeing even start to send these weird messages?
What are the facts?
Let’s start with the only airline that flies both aircraft at present. Clearly Lufthansa does not use these aircraft interchangeably. The A380 is an order of magnitude bigger (by more than a third) in capacity terms. Moreover Lufthansa is well known for its “horses for courses” fleet management philosophy. According to this data we would say one cannot compare the aircraft evenly.
Besides here is a chart worth taking a look at again, it dates back from 2007.
Boeing has seen slow buying of the 747-8i with only 40 sold compared to 262 A380s sold. Apparently the market is smart enough to figure out the ads are silly. So why even bother if only to irritate the other guy? Seems like a remarkable waste of resources by both OEMs. The sillier of the two is the one which responded to the initial ad. The very idea of comparing the two aircraft is surely seen as silly by those with “a high-level understanding” (ASA’s words). These people probably don’t even read the ads.