Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Boeing unlikely to resume passenger 767 production

Boeing is unlikely to resume production of the passenger version of the 767-300ER, even as airlines look to meet fleet needs until the possible New Mid-market Aircraft (NMA) comes on the market in the next decade.

"Bringing back the 767 passenger airplane – I just don't see it," says Randy Tinseth, vice-president of marketing at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, during a media briefing from an industry conference in San Diego.

The airframer continues to build military and freighter versions of the 767, and executives have said as recently as November 2017 that resuming production of the passenger variant was an option.

Reports last fall suggested that Boeing could resume production of the passenger 767-300ER to act as a bridge until the NMA debuts in the 2024 to 2025 timeframe. United Airlines was understood to have expressed interest.

Boeing chief executive Dennis Muilenburg said last November that the airframer had "broad customer interest" in the 767 beyond military and freighter uses.

However, resuming production would only act as a bridge until the NMA and not provide airlines with an aircraft with next generation engines and economics that they are looking for.

Tinseth says today that potential customers for the NMA, which is aimed at replacing ageing 757 and 767 fleets, tell Boeing that they are happy waiting for an entry-into-service as late as 2025.

The NMA would seat 220-270 passengers and have a range of around 5,000nm, he says.

American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines have all expressed interest in the NMA, with Delta chief executive Ed Bastian reportedly telling pilots in February that the airline would like to launch the new aircraft.

The three US carrier operated a combined 238 757s and 153 767s with an average age of 20.1 years and 20.4 years, respectively, Flight Fleets Analzyer shows.

Boeing faces competition from Airbus for some of the 757 and 767 replacement market. The European airframer will deliver its first A321LR this year targeting some transatlantic 757s and airlines, including American and United, are considering the A330-800neo to replace their 767 fleets.

The A330-800neo is scheduled to enter service in 2019. However, the future of the variant is in question as the only customer – Hawaiian Airlines – is publicly exploring options to drop the order, with reports suggesting a possible Boeing 787-9 deal.

(Edward Russell - FlightGlobal News)

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