The 757, arguably the most attractive airliner ever produced. It is also arguably the most underrated aircraft of its time with over 1,000 of the type built over 20 years. In my ongoing series in exploring airliners and annoying crazy Texans, we look at the Boeing 757, the thin narrowbody jetliner that started off a revolution.
The 757 is a legendary aircraft, it was built in the '80s and is still used today. However, as much as it is a brilliant aircraft it’s getting old. The newest 757 rolled off the production line in 2004, 16 years ago while American Airlines, a major operator of the type has 757’s approaching their 27th birthday. It’s fair to say that the 757 is a good airliner but won’t be around for many more decades. The problem, airlines need a replacement to put on their medium to long-range skinny routes, say Reykjavík to Washington D.C or Washington D.C to London. They aren’t really long routes with not a lot of demand so a lot of airlines use their ageing 757’s on the route but what about when the 757’s need to be retired?
Right now Boeing has no replacement 757 aircraft flying. The now-notorious 737 MAX 10 is the closest they’ve got, it holds 204 passengers (2 class config) with a 6,110km range for you Americans that’s 8,987 hot dogs side by side while the 757-300 holds 243 passengers (2 class config) and has a range of 6,295km. And sure that doesn’t sound like much but consider the original 757 has a range of over 7,200km, it’s hard not to see the difference. Airbus meanwhile has a challenger to the 757. Their A321LR aircraft holds 206 passengers (2 class config) and has a range of 7,400km, 6 more seats and 150km better range than the 757-200, it’s also a lot more efficient. It’s Boeing’s move and it’s not like they are going to sell their 737 MAX 10 as a true competitor, their new mid-sized aircraft plans are underway although due the MAX grounding it seems as though the NMA has been bumped down the list with Boeing preferring to get the crash ridden 737 MAX back into the skies first. The NMA is planned to be a 7 abreast twin isle while being a cross between the 757 and the 767, it is planned to seat between 225 and 275 passengers while having a range between 8,300km and 9,300km but there’s another option.
Why doesn’t Boeing just reuse the 757 design and upgrade it with modern technologies? The design hasn’t been overused and it’s easier to build than a new clean-sheet design. I personally think they need an aircraft now and they should use the 757 and enhance it. Boeing is losing the market share to Airbus and they urgently need to gain it back for their sake. What do you think?
Icelandiar’s 757 image credit