A recent Washington Post article, titled "Five myths about air travel" noted:
The difficulty is that economies of scale don’t always work for airlines, because planes generally don’t increase in per-passenger efficiency as they grow larger. In fact, many of the most efficient planes of today are the smallest ones. At a transatlantic distance, a 525-seat Airbus A380 has an efficiency of 74 miles per gallon (mpg) per passenger, while the brand-new 168-seat Boeing 737 MAX 8 reaches 110 mpg per passenger.
This seems counter-intuitive. All other things being equal (and transatlantic distances would equalize many of them) -- shouldn't the larger plane should be more efficient?
This whole article notes the "myths about air travel" and I have to admit that I'd always believed that larger planes were more efficient per passenger mile.
Perhaps there is something unique to the the A380 and 737-Max 8 that makes the comparison incorrect? Is it related to aircraft utilization rate or percentage of seats filled -- although these wouldn't be a factor in the mpg per passenger metric?
Note: I am not interested in crew or ground staffing efficiencies realized by a mega plane. Just fuel.