A Major Airline Is Considering Ordering 50-100 Boeing 767s?!?

Well, this sure is interesting, as I never expected we’d see the day where another passenger Boeing 767 is built.

We’ve seen a lot of innovation from aircraft manufacturers lately, and airlines are eating up many of these planes.

For longhaul flights, the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 are proving immensely popular. These planes are fuel efficient and not too high capacity (at least not as high capacity as the A380 or 747), so they enable airlines to profitably operate ultra longhaul routes that may not have otherwise been practical.

For shorter range travel, the A320neo and 737MAX are proving incredibly popular as well. These are more fuel efficient and longer range versions of their predecessors. With the increased range, these planes even have the ability to operate some flights that were historically flown by widebody aircraft, including some transatlantic routes.

However, arguably there’s still a market for planes that are somewhere in the middle in terms of size. A320s and 737s have limited range, and the 787-8 is the smallest aircraft type of the 787 and A350 models, and that’s still pretty big. The 797 is supposed to fill this gap, though that plane is just a concept at this point, and many years from being in production.

In other words, for now there’s nothing to really take the place of the 767, which is fairly long range but also a bit lower capacity. However, the passenger version of the plane is no longer in production. Boeing is still producing freighter versions of these planes (the last couple of dozen have gone to FedEx), and the last passenger version of the plane was produced in 2014, when Air Astana took delivery of the plane.

The Air Astana 767 I flew last year from Incheon to Almaty was actually the second youngest passenger 767 in service.

Well, it looks like the passenger version of the 767 might not be dead just yet. The Puget Sound Business Journal is reporting that Boeing is allegedly considering whether to double 767 production. Sources say that a major airline — possibly United — is considering an order of 50-100 of these planes:

The Chicago-based jetmaker is asking its employees and suppliers whether they can deliver on the rate increase to win a big aircraft order, according to a Boeing document and three industry sources who requested anonymity to protect business relationships.

The moves come amid rumors Boeing has secured or is close to securing a huge order for 767s from a major airline, possibly United Continental. Between 50 and 100 jets are potentially involved, sources said.

I’ll be very curious to see if this happens. On one hand, the plane still has a unique position in the market, being the smallest widebody aircraft still in production. At the same time, compared to what else is out there, the plane is old technology at this point. But I wouldn’t be surprised if Boeing is willing to make a deal on these planes, and thereby make it worthwhile for an airline.

Do you think 767 passenger jet production will return, and do you think United is the airline interested?

(Tip of the hat to Alon)

Comments

  1. If it is United, it brings up the question about what variant they are going to order. It would make sense for them to order more -400ERs but I don’t know if Boeing is going to accommodate that.

  2. Sounds like get us a great deal or we are going with Airbus A330 kind if deal to me.

    Granted fuel is cheap now, but it’s unlike to last for the lifetime of these airplanes.

    Must be one hell of a price the airline in qestion is getting.

    @Lucky

    You are forgetting possible the biggest current order for the B767, the US Air Force with the KC-46 Pegasus refueling aircraft. 18 planes is supposed to be delivered in 2018 alone. So the production is very much hot.

  3. 787 probably costs ~50% more than a 767 to buy new. You get fuel burn savings, but effectively are paying for a plane with long legs when a lot of airlines end up flying them on shorter routes. You won’t make money flying a 787 to Europe given how low the fares are and Asia has almost always been unprofitable for the industry. Whoever is trying to order these planes is most likely going to fly them to a smattering of destinations across Europe to places you won’t see a high-dense, expensive Norwegian 787 touch

  4. They’ll upgraded the avionics if this true. Maybe engines as well and market it as 767neo or some bs like that.

  5. if this order actually happens, I’d expect 797/MoM to be much delayed, if not outright cancelled.

  6. For those who turn right when entering an airplane (unlike you, Lucky!), the 2-4-2 seating aboard the 767 is very attractive, especially for couples who’d rather not share a bank of three seats with a stranger. I would choose the 767 over a 787 or A350 if my husband and I were planning on sitting in the back.

  7. This sounds like the buyer looking for leverage in a 330 negotiation.

    Is Airbus even selling new 330 Classics or just Neos?

  8. Aeromexico depleted all their 767. First, they used them to fly to Europe from Mexico City, however when they got some 787, they used 767 for flights to Argentina and Brazil. However, after having enough 787, they use now 777 for South America. T

  9. @Airways and Travels

    It’s a local newspaper from where Boeing largest plant is located, they probably have a lot on sources inside Boeing.

    Have seen articles pop up from them before on airplane news.

  10. How do we know it’s not for cargo? I’m betting it’s Amazon..

    If it is passenger 767s, I doubt and really hope it’s not United ordering these.

  11. I appreciate that your perspective is often airline-focused, but, for me, the 767 is my favourite plane and has been for 20 years. Why? Because, for all the praise, I’m no fan of the 3-3-3 on the 787 (and I flew in 4 of them LHR to South America via Houston). 767? 2-3-2 anytime all the time.

    I will switch schedules if the 767 is an option. Now I might even have to switch airlines.

  12. Does that make sense when Boeing has already announced that they are planing to launch a MoM? It would seem silly to me that Boeing would be willing to sell 767s and potentially losing an MoM customer or endangering the MoM all-together.

  13. Well, Delta has proven that a proper use of older generation aircraft at the right price can work. As well, what Lucky points out in that the 767 fills a gap. It must be on par with a cost that will make this very attractive and also offer some NEO features that will offer a bit of fuel savings and a better interior.

    There are countless routes that this makes sense…Delta has perhaps the biggest need in replacing older 767’s and the best routes/frequency to justify it. United still has a number of newish generation 400’s from Continental but also a number of routes (especially to IAD) that this would make sense for a bridge. Both I imagine could make this work. Again though, at a really attractive price only or pushing Boeing for the 797 is the way to go.

    I just hope they will rebrand it to a 500 or Neo designation so that we can at least know which type is being flown when booking.

  14. Love the 767, up front on Delta on the trans con It is a 1-2-1 layout. I seek it out to get the window/ aisle 1 row. Best of both worlds: window & aisle and nobody next to you. Also recently flew the United 767 with the 2-1-2 seating up front. Got the middle single row & loved it. Wish UA flew these on LA transcons.

  15. https://leehamnews.com/2017/08/14/boeings-tactical-option-for-mom-sector/

    Above link is for Aug 14th story re pros/cons for restarting passenger models of Boeing 767-300ER

    https://leehamnews.com/2017/10/19/boeing-ponders-restart-767-300er-passenger-line/#more-25063

    Above link is for Oct 19th story updating possibility of Boeing restarting production of passenger models of the 767-300ER

    The above links are for published reports that appeared in one of the foremost newsletters that covers the intersection of airline and aerospace industries, Leeham News and Comment, re the possibility of Boeing resuming production of passenger versions of its 767-300ER model.

    For those interested in taking a deeper dive on the subject, these two articles will make for excellent reads!

    Personally, and as most who have seen my comments (or “rants” as some say hehehe) here, or elsewhere, I’ll gladly go out of my way to book seats on a 767 (or A330) over a 777 in ANY configuration (much less a “densified” ten abreast 3-4-3 bird of this feather which to me are flying abominations unfit for humans over the age of 12 and/or taller than 5-feet.

    So, for sure, seeing a new batch of “50-100” of Boeing’s very nicely sized 2-3-2 coach/economy rows 767-300s take to the skies for a US-based airline such as United (or Delta; I don’t waste time considering flights on American anymore) would be very much welcomed…assuming they’re NOT even one MICRON LESS than 31” pitch (and even that’s freakin’ awful…).

    I long ago began avoiding 777s, even when they were at 3-3-3 or nine seats abreast per row…and the only 787 flight taken to date was on Aeromexico in business class from JFK to Mexico City 18-months ago.

    But I gladly have, and will continue, taking A330s or A340s for long hauls in coach/economy…so any news that MORE 767s may be taxiing up to gates in the future instead of the other way around as has been the case for the past five to seven years, is certainly hoped for.

    Unless it’s a 747 (or maybe an A380 which I have yet to fly), i just HATE having to deal with the “3” (or 4) seats for any flight lasting more than four or five hours.

    Under four or five hours is fine, if need be. But more than that, and certainly for six, seven, eight, or more hours long haul, if it’s in coach/economy, where I spend most of my flying time, having just two seats in either side of the aisle is so much better with, or without, someone familiar sitting next to me…

  16. Seems like a smart choice if they can manage a more fuel efficient NEO option with updates to systems and interiors. Put Polaris seats a true premium economy and decent long haul economy seats with say 34+” pitch and it would be a nice long haul aircraft.

  17. @Lord Potato

    MOM/797 will be launched from 2025.

    This increase in 767 production will start in 2020 and ramp up to 4 planes a month Jan 2021-Jan 2025 and end with a ramp down to 2 a month in June 2025.

    All in all probably around 120 extra 767 planes produced.

    The more I read about this it seems to be Boeing response to the A320LR arriving in I believe 2019. No need to buy that French crap sir, here have a dirt cheap B767 while you wait for your MOM to arrive. Just sign this contract to be an early/launch customer for MOM.

    Wonder how many of the plane will even be sold, rather than leased out by Boeing or a leasing company planning freighter conversation after MOM arrives.

    @a ramper

    Because 100 planes is about the number of United B757 and B767 that will need to be replaced in the next 7-8 years and United have no widebodies or A320LR on order to replace them?

    B757 and B767 share a type rating so pilots will need minimal or no retraining, plus you can just take the new 1-1-1 Polaris cabins out of old B767 as you retire them and stick them in the new B767. Bonus would be not needing to design a new Polaris cabin for the B767.

    That doesn’t mean that Amazon’s tentacles are not involved in all of this, if United bought this many new planes it would free up a lot of older cheap planes for conversion to freighters in the near future. Plus where would all these new planes go once MOM becomes available? Might even be Amazon starting a leasing arm to assure access to cheap and plentiful B767 freighters down the line, after all they are said to have a cash reserve of $250 Billion plus that needs to be invested somehow..

  18. Good to see the 767 coming back. For us unfortunate enough to fly in the back it is the best longhaul plane: 2+3+2 means that it is the airplane with the LOWEST chance of being stuck in a middle seat, also you NEVER have to climb over 2 passengers to get out. One person traveling? Choose aisle in the center and probably nobody climbs over you, or choose window and it is not too hard to get out. Two people: take window and aisle. Three people: center. Four: 2 rows on the side. Etc. etc. etc. You see, it is the most flexible and comfortable configuration. In this sense Delta is my preferred airline to go to South America as they fly 767’s mostly (unfortunately now they have some a330s or 340s too).

  19. After enduring a 7 hr flight DFW-ANC last month on an American 757, I fantasized about how much more comfortable my girl friend and I would have been in coach on a 767 with no one sharing our row with us. As others have said above, when traveling as a couple, nothing in coach beats a 767. I too will try to find a 767 flight over any other equipment.

  20. I’m with you, Howard. Went out of my way to fly Delta’s comfort+ on their A330 BOS-AMS vs KLM 777’s with 3-4-3z. At 6’3″, 190lbs, I was pleasantly surprised with seat comfort and space. Took Delta One back which was very nice.

    For me, it’s 767 or A330 in economy+ or wait for discounted Biz or PE on bigger planes.

  21. Luv the 76, always have. Wondered why it couldn’t be partially re -engineer with a new wing or at least re-engined.

    2-3-2 is the best coach layout ever.

  22. Why would any sane airline choose something designed 40 years ago on the basis of the technology then available, rather than something that can do the same tasks or better but takes advantage of four decades of innovation? And that’s before the disadvantages of the 767 if cargo forms any significant part of that airline’s business.

    As Airbus discovered, airlines didn’t want a stretched version of the A330 to compete with Boeing’s all-new 787, so they had to develop the brand-new A350 instead (and very glad I am that they did – the A350 is such a great aircraft from a pax perspective).

    But as Boeing discovered with the 787, their strengths don’t seem to lie with developing new, blank-sheet-of-paper designs (even their generally relentlessly optimistic senior management constantly points to all the “learning opportunities” they got from developing the 787…).

  23. S7 Airlines is retiring its 767 in 2-4-2 economy configuration, which they purchased from Czech or Vietnam Airlines. But this is going to be a history.

  24. The MOM is already there in the form of the A321neo, the A330neo and soon to come the smaller A320neoLR. Why should any airline want to order a 40 years plus old design aircraft like the B767 or the B757 defeats my imagination.
    Do not forget the A350 or the B787-8, these are all next gen aircraft under production. Forget the LOPA as this is the choice of the airline and not of any manufacturer.

  25. Probably United will be ordering them to replace their ageing (19.7 years) fleet of 77 757’s. Also in addition to this, United’s 757’s are almost always at full capacity and ordering 767’s will keep costs down because they won’t need to train maintenance engineers, pilots or flight attendants on new aircraft and won’t need to buy “spare” parts for a different type of aircraft given that they already have a lot of 767’s in their fleet.

  26. @ Jake

    Swings and roundabouts…

    Yes, they will make those cost savings. And they will probably also get a good deal on the purchase price. But the running costs will be higher – so this is essentially a gamble on whether or not fuel costs will remain low. And in the meantime they have a fleet built on the technology of the 1970s.

  27. @Scruder
    It’s in my understanding that the A330ceos still have a fairly long production life ahead of them. The last order that came from a major carrier I remember was IAG ordering 3 A330-200s back in July for Level.

  28. I think this is purely about price. Somebody at Boeing told me they sell for 100 million or so – much less than any other widebody out there.

    And the production line for the 767 at Paine Field is shared with the 747, which is hardly being built any more, so the capacity is there

  29. I think it’s a great idea these things are made of pure steel. Excellent strength and flying ability to be had from the solid steel product that is the 767. I really hope it’s a -200 variant.

  30. @henry LAX

    I doubt this would have an impact on the 797 program, this sounds more like a short-term fix to stop a large customer (esp if it’s United) switching to the A330 to replace their ancient 763s.

    @Dan Air London, @Danin MCI

    Doubt they would re-engine this as a “Neo” option, that would still mean a couple billion in development costs, and with fuel costs projected to stay low for a while (and the 767 already the lightest widebody plane out there) they won’t need to. The interiors were already updated to the “sky” style for the most recent passenger deliveries.

    This could be a very good move for Boeing – if they restart production of the passenger 767 they might even flog a few in high-density config to the Japanese airlines to replace older a/c for domestic routes.

  31. @Kerry: Couldn’t Boeing just slap two derated 787-8/A330 engines (Presuming that they are of similar weight and have enough clearance) onto the 767 and go through engine certification? Wouldn’t cost a couple of billions and will probably be somewhat more efficient than using the current engines.

  32. Kerry,

    Boeing would not have to “re-start” production of the 767. It is still being built – just for cargo and military uses

  33. Funny how so many are quick to bash the “forty year old technology” of the 767 but don’t have a problem hopping aboard a nasty sixty year old technology 737 piece of garbage. So many “experts” on here.

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