The A321XLR Will Enable the 757 to Retire, But It is More Than Just a Replacement

Boeing remains so bogged down with both the 737 MAX grounding and engine issues plaguing other fleets that it hasn’t been able to put out an airplane to truly replace the 757. Sure, early work on the so-called “Middle of the Market” (MoM) airplane is well underway, but it still hasn’t been launched and it is many years away from actually flying. Meanwhile, Airbus is taking action. It officially launched the A321XLR last week at the Paris Air Show and was immediately rewarded with commitments for more than 200 of the airplanes. This is the first airplane that can truly replace the 757, and in fact, it can do much more than that.

The Majestic and Versatile 757

The 757 was an airplane that was overbuilt for its original purpose. When airlines first took delivery in the early 1980s, it was a domestic airplane meant to replace the 727. But over time, the 737 took on that role as it continued to be stretched and re-engined. By the time production of the 757 stopped in the early 2000s, the writing was already on the wall. Boeing bet that a stretched but range-limited 757-300 would be the next logical step. It was not a success. A longer range 757-200ER version never happened. Instead, the 757 would remain a great niche airplane to serve thin, longish- distance routes but it had no other place in Boeing’s catalog.

Continental learned this early when it started deploying the airplane from Newark into secondary European markets. The airplane also found a home with other airlines flying routes like the West Coast to Hawai’i or Miami to mid-Latin America. The 757 could theoretically stretch to a range of just over 4,000 nautical miles (nm) but in practice it wasn’t quite that good. For example, Newark to Berlin/Tegel was flown at 3,980nm but in the winter it often had to make a stop going westbound against those stiff winds. The realistic range was somewhat less than that.

Still, the airplane was a rock star that showed the real opportunity that existed to fly narrowbodies on long, thin routes that couldn’t otherwise support nonstop service. The unique characteristics of the airplane made it versatile, but it was also an older generation aircraft. The airlines loved what the airplane could do, but they needed something more efficient.

Boeing’s answer to the 757 replacement question was the same answer it always had… stretch the 737 some more. The 737 MAX 9 has a published range of 3,550nm so it’s likely much less than that in reality. The MAX 10’s range is less than that. Sure it can handle some routes the 757 flies, but most of Europe is out of the question. It’s possible the new MoM (or 797) will be launched, but that is years and years away from actually flying for an airline. Boeing really has nothing in this market for the foreseeable future.

And that would explain why the legacy airlines have clung to their 757s. Of the 1,050 757s built, 688 are still active according to Airfleets, but many of those are cargo. In fact, there are only 7 passengers airlines with more than 10 757s flying.

AirlineActive 757s
American34
Condor14
Delta127
Icelandair26
Jet211
TUI12
United76

Delta has the most and remains the one airline that still regularly deploys the airplane on shorter domestic flights. But American is probably the most interesting one to look at on this list.

An American Case Study

American has whittled down its fleet of 757s dramatically since the US Airways merger. That process continues this fall when it will be replaced in the Hawai’i market entirely with A321neos. That leaves the fleet mostly focused on East Coast to Europe and Miami to Latin America. Some of these are new 757s, but “new” means they’re 17+ years old. American has been waiting for a replacement.

Enter the A321XLR. This airplane is, of course, just an A321neo but with much longer legs. It has a published range of 4,700nm. While it likely won’t be that good in practice, it will still beat the 757 handily.

American wasted no time and quickly ordered 50 of them with delivery starting in 2023. (It actually converted 30 A321neos into XLRs and added 20 new orders.) Some of these will replace the 757s. They may also replace some of those 767 exploratory routes. You know what I mean — routes like Philly to Dubrovnik or Miami to Cordoba that may or may not work, but on which American figured it could throw some old 767s and take a low-risk swing.

The A321XLR opens up an incredible number of new route possibilities. From Philly, nearly all of Europe is in range, and the same can be said from any city in the Northeast. From Florida, all of South America is in range down to even Buenos Aires and Santiago. Heck, much of South America is even in range from the Northeast. With the vastly improved operating economics of the A321XLR, American will be able to try a lot of new routes that it couldn’t serve before.

Beyond the Replacement

For American, it’s an easy sell because of the need to replace those 757s. But other less likely airlines are seeing the combination of capacity, range, and economics and are also seeing value. This is where Boeing should be nervous. All one has to do is look at the initial orders for the airplane to see its potential. Here’s a list so far:

AirlineA321XLRsAgreement Type
Aer Lingus6Firm order
Air Lease Corporation27LOI
American50Firm order
Cebu Pacific10MOU
Flynas10MOU
Frontier18MOU
Iberia8Firm order
JetBlue13Firm order
JetSMART12MOU
Middle East Airlines4Firm order
Qantas36Firm order
Wizz Air20MOU

Sure, some of these are conversions from neo orders, but that’s irrelevant. Just look at the variety of airlines that show an interest here and imagine what they can do with it.

Middle East Airlines can fly the airplane from Beirut to nearly anywhere in Europe, Africa, and Asia. Qantas, an airline that has the 737 as its narrowbody backbone, can fly it from Perth to anywhere in Southeast Asia or even parts of India. Heck, Qantas can even reach into parts of Southeast from Sydney. For example Sydney to Phuket is less than 4,000nm.

Possibly most interesting, however, is what Indigo Partners is doing. It has picked up 50 airplanes to distribute between Frontier, JetSMART, and Wizz. Where can Frontier use this? I imagine the first focus will be on deeper penetration into Latin markets, but Europe is certainly an option. Wizz may see those same opportunities, but it can also head east. How about Budapest to India? And JetSMART down in Chile is undoubtedly looking to point those planes north as far as they can go. This is a huge opportunity to get great economics on longer haul flights without having to fill too many seats. Long-haul, low-cost has never worked but Indigo is betting that this airplane will change the equation.

This airplane has the ability to do what the 787 did for longer haul markets. Some may complain about flying a narrowbody long distances, but those complaints are misguided. People will take a nonstop over a connection any day, and this should open up options for a lot more nonstops.

So long, 757. Your good work here is finally wrapping up. Enjoy retirement and let the new kid on the block take over.

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79 Responses to The A321XLR Will Enable the 757 to Retire, But It is More Than Just a Replacement

  1. CoreyInRIC says:

    Boeing really missed the boat when thinking the 737 was the future. So long 757, you were the best narrowbody around.

  2. Kilroy says:

    Is the 321XLR ETOPS-ready out of the box? I know there are some additional requirements for airlines, not just planes, but that’s another issue.

    Also, could someone please provide a quick summary of the differences between LOI, MOU, and firm order? I’ve seen the terms used a bit, but don’t understand them as well as I’d like. Thanks.

    • Don Wolford says:

      The process is airline specific.

    • Jorg says:

      A firm order means: they’ll get the planes, period.
      MOU: Memorandum of Understanding: it holds power in a court of law, even though not all details have been agreed on.
      LOI: Letter of Intent. It just says ‘yeahhh we’re kinda thinking about it, but not promising anything yet’.

      It’s a really black and white version of explaining it, but I think you get the idea.

    • CF says:

      Kilroy – I don’t see why the XLR would have any issues with ETOPS. The 321LR already has it, so it shouldn’t be much different to get it done.

  3. Don Wolford says:

    The 737-900 (non-Max) is not a true replacement for the 757. Too much airplane on single bogie gear.
    Dispatchers have always loved the 757: great takeoff, landing, and over mountain performance…can always carry all the payload.
    Cranky’s article is spot on…Airbus has a winner on their hands. Not only due to great range, but think about departing from say, SNA to east coast destinations. Boeing missed the boat on this one.

  4. Bobber says:

    The XLR looks like the closest Airbus will have to a rockstar – hope that UA bite. I love the 757 – it’s been an amazing plane to fly on as a passenger. I was sceptical about transatlantic crossings on a narrow-bodied aircraft but, even on UA metal (in Y), the 757 has been a great ride. UA have tended to make the daytime Eastbound transatlantic crossings on them, too, which is another reason I love them (a chance to go straight to bed when getting in to LHR and mitigate most of the effects of jetlag).

  5. PF says:

    Does the cargo payload on the A321XLR equal or exceed the 757?

    • CF says:

      PF – I don’t know how it compares, but on long stages, nobody is carrying much cargo.

      • Dan says:

        Not only that, but the real demand for cargo is palette and container shipping. Narrow-body aircraft don’t carry either of those, so cargo shipping on a 757/321 is going to be limited to what can be shipped in the “bulk” bins, e.g., mixed in with passenger bags.

      • Andy says:

        Depends on the route. Routes to certain South American cities are often so heavy on cargo that point that they’ll leave standbys behind and take off with empty seats in order to take more cargo.

  6. A says:

    As someone who enjoys plane spotting it’s sad that the world of commercial jets seems to be just multiple variations of a couple platforms, just stretched and re-engined over and over again. The 321XLR may very well be able to out perform the venerable 757 due to newer technology on an overall newer platform but it’s not something to celebrate in my book. While we likely have years of still seeing the ’57’s flying I don’t cheer the day they make their last flight to the desert.

    Hindsight is 20/20 but in the early 2000’s when Boeing killed the 757 they claimed it was because there wasn’t a market for it. Crazy to think 1000 deliveries is a dud but compared to the 737 or 320 deliveries it was. Frankly I liked the times when an aircraft would be specifically developed for a niche and wished we still had a little bit of that. Certainly made flying more fun than the vanilla world we are headed to.

  7. Boiled Goose says:

    How will the XLR perform out of high-altitude airports like BOG? Thinking the 757 still wins that battle…

    • Kilroy says:

      …Or, if you want to go there, LPB (and yes, I realize it handles a fraction of the pax that BOG does, though still over a million a year).

      Always fun when an international airport’s longest runway is shorter than the vertical distance between the airport and sea level… And El Alto has a 4,000m runway.

      Taking off from El Alto airport (LPB, La Paz, Bolivia) is an incredible experience, as you see the ground fall away and the city in the valley below the airport, and IMHO it’s something that should be on more avgeek bucket lists.

    • CF says:

      Boiled – I’m sure the 757 still wins, but I’d think that the worst thing that happens is the A321XLR just wouldn’t be able to do stages that are as long. The thing is, it wouldn’t anyway. Even Bogota-New York is only 2,150nm so it’s nowhere near the range limit. I would think it would still be just fine.

      • ejj says:

        It’s interesting, and significant, that Indigo is not putting any A321XLR’s into Volaris – because of high altitude performance – as in MEX

  8. Tim Dunn says:

    Let’s be clear on one thing.
    American has spent more on fleet replacement than any other US airline over the past decade and yet AA’s margins have trailed the industry for much of that time including in the present. AA also has more debt than any other airline – and more than a number of its competitors COMBINED. That debt adds hundreds of millions of dollars in interest expense to AA’s costs – which reduces its profits.

    AA’s profit problem is that its average fares are below DL and UA’s in direct markets where they compete, even with the same type of aircraft.

    A new aircraft – A321NEO or not – is not going to solve AA’s profit problem.

    • Jeffery says:

      While factually an accurate assessment, that also ignores the simple fact that AA’s debt problem was a sunk cost created by pre merger management. This management team has spread capital cost out, limited orders to actually needed replacements not already covered l, and now the XLR, which is a conversion of existing orders for early in delivery and a few later deliveries on option conversions.

      The XLR has the potential to reduce CASM on current 757 routes and open additional opportunities for routes that have a positive effect on profits or extend season on some seasonal routes that have strong but not WB strong demand outside of peak.

      • Tim Dunn says:

        AA mgmt. could have renegotiated airplane deliveries many times over the past 5 years including in bankruptcy – but they have not other than a fairly small amount of 737 deferrals and cancellation of the A350.

        AA’s debt has still grown in large part because it has also bought back more stock than any other airline even though AAL stock has been one of the worst performing in the industry in the 5 years since American merged and came out of bankruptcy.

        Metrics on AAL’s return on capital are also at or near the bottom of the industry.

        Five years is more than enough time for AA to profitably deploy its tens of billions of dollars in new aircraft – but that hasn’t happened. The metrics speak for themselves.

        There is no reason to think that the A321NEO on international routes is going to make any difference to AA’s profitability compared to the 757 given how few 757s AA has left. At best, the A321will allow AA to downgrade its year round transatlantic route system which is far smaller than DL and UA’s – or it will allow AA to put slightly larger and more capable on some of its S. America narrowbody routes.

        • DesertGhost says:

          The time for a company to buy back stock is when it’s low, not when it’s high. Don’t forget, the vast majority of American’s new aircraft (including the NEOs that were just converted) were ordered before American’s 2011 bankruptcy (that’s eight years ago). American could have deferred some deliveries but why? The airline had waited far too long to invest in itself (as had US Airways, pre-Parker). American’s management and board know its cash flow (which is what usually funds dividends and stock buybacks) far better than anyone outside the company, in spite of the publically available data. Short tem thinking is what got American in trouble. Long term investment is part of why Southwest has been consistently profitable.

          • Tim Dunn says:

            All of that makes sense IF a company has competitive capital costs. AAL does not.
            They spend $700 million MORE each year than Delta JUST on interest expense.

            Further, AAL spends more on maintenance and fuel to generate the same amount of revenue as Delta.

            There is no cost advantage for AAL after all of the money they have spent on fleet.

            And Southwest’s debt levels are a fraction of American’s. Delta’s debt levels are a fraction of American’s.

            Delta and Southwest are generating enough cash to take on their new aircraft purchases without generating debt.

            • DesertGhost says:

              That’s because American has more debt. It’s not rocket science. American’s past management didn’t invest enough in the airline, so the new group had to play catch up. Delta and Northwest did invest some pre-bankruptcy. It’s really not that difficult to figure out. Let’s see what happens in the next few years.

            • Tim Dunn says:

              Ghost,
              The rocket science is that American didn’t need to push its fleet age down so low only to get no operating cost advantage and also pays more to own its fleet.

              No one says that American and every other airline didn’t need to renew its fleet. It is the degree that they NEEDED to do it.

              Remember, American has repeatedly decided just to get rid of fleets that other airlines can manage to keep. American has younger 767-300ERs than Delta and United’s 767-400s and yet American didn’t think it was worth their while to refurbish those aircraft – even though both Delta and United have done so.

              Delta and United both have retained many more of their 757s than American (see above); it is hard to argue that AA needs to dump their 757s when DL and UA have figured out how to make those aircraft work.

              And, let’s also keep in mind, that AA’s fleet replacement would not have been near as problematic to its balance sheet if they hadn’t spent $12 billion on stock buybacks and yet still has had the worst performing airline stock over the past 5 years.

              As much as you feel compelled to defend AA, Wall Street doesn’t buy it which is why American is worth half what Delta is and less than any of the other big 4 airlines even though American has the highest amount of revenue by a small amount.

            • DesertGhost says:

              Wall Street is interested in the short term. Most businesses manage for the long term. There are lots of factors at work with American, not only its fleet. As for future debt, don’t forget that 30 of the XLRs are conversions. There are only 20 new aircraft on order. No disrespect intended but I’ll take Isom’s analysis over ours any day. he has for more data at his disposal than either of us.

            • Tim Dunn says:

              @ghost
              investors, the people who actually own the majority of AAL, have the same data available that I can see.

              AAL is significantly undervalued for the reasons I noted.

              Blindly putting faith in a management team that has failed to not only deliver the stockholder returns they said they would but has also put AAL into the position of being the least valuable of the big 4 US airlines is verifiable reality.

              Plenty of companies including AAL’s competitors have figured out how to balance short and long term goals.

              The A321XLR isn’t going to change anything at all at AAL from a financial standpoint because it is a drop in the bucket of AAL’s total fleet spending and its ability to change AAL’s revenue trajectory.

          • DesertGhost says:

            I hate spell check. LOL

    • DesertGhost says:

      Robert Isom mentioned that the new aircraft fit into American’s long term capital plans. I think American’s management and Board of Directors have a better handle on the aairline’s finances that we do.

  9. Alex Hill says:

    Why did Boeing reengine the 737 instead of the 757 for the MAX? With the longer landing gear, they wouldn’t have had to contort the airframe to fit the larger engine in. Is the airframe appreciably heavier in a way that couldn’t be made better?

    I know everyone says the 757 is overbuilt, but does that mostly refer to the engines, which would be replaced in a new version anyway? Or are there other things about the airframe that are very different?

    • CF says:

      Alex – For most uses, the 737 is still going to be better for airline needs. It’s just those longer hauls that can be served by the 737 well.

      On the 757, I believe it’s the engines and the wing.

  10. Pilotaaron1 says:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, not doing a 757NEO was a huge mistake by Boeing. And I think they’re starting to feel it. In regards to the A321XLR, correct me if I’m wrong but while it outperforms the 757 in regards to range and passenger capacity, it is still behind the 757 in short field performance, hot and high ops, and cargo capacity right? Although good job to Airbus for seeing the opportunity and going for it.

    • CF says:

      Pilotaaron1 – I’m sure that’s right, but I don’t know that there’s really a need. I think the XLR can still perform in those situations but it’ll be weight restricted. So you can’t do ultra long hauls from Denver or Mexico City but you don’t really have 757s doing that today anyway. There might be some short field issues, but I don’t think that’s what airlines are looking for anyway.

    • A says:

      Well, I think that’s answered in part by what drove Boeing to do the MAX instead of a clean sheet 737 – lots and lots of pilots already certified to fly the 737.

      The fuselage cross section of the 757 is near identical to the 737 but that’s where the similarities end. The length is longer than even the -900 and the wing is far bigger. Up and down all the stats the 757 is just way more plane than any 737 variant. Not sure there was a way to de-tune the 757 and have a “SP” version that would be similar to a Max-8.

      Sadly I’ve heard that Boeing in their infinite wisdom scrapped all the tooling for the 757. They probably “lost” all the plans for the plane too, just like NASA did with the moon landing capsules. Don’t underestimate corporate stupidity.

  11. Doug Swalen says:

    Between the MAX/MCAS fiasco, engine issues, delays on the 777X, and having years of hand wringing over launching an NMA finally catch up to it and allow Airbus to effectively seize the market for years to come, 2019 is going to go down as one of Boeing’s worst years, if not the worst year, in commercial aviation ever…

    …and that’s after Boeing blew it the year before by not grabbing Bombardier’s C Series before Airbus bought it for a bag of used hockey pucks…

    How Dennis Muilenburg still has his job after all this…it’s mind boggling.

  12. Angry Bob Crandall says:

    Let’s hope that the lads on a A321XLR have more space than the MAX. Even without the latest issues I avoided them like the plague.

    • Jeffery says:

      Should be configured to International fleet standards. Isom on the “Tell Me Why” mentioned all aisle access Business & Premium Econ. Would assume Y/Y+ to be like 777 or 787 31-34″ pitch

  13. Oliver says:

    Wonder what this does to the business case for the MoM aircraft. Is Boeing going to be better off focusing its resources on a new clean-sheet 737 replacement?

    • CF says:

      Oliver – Good question. I don’t think that this was unexpected at all, and Boeing still sees a need for the MoM to some extent. But it would seem that a 737 replacement would have broader appeal. The problem is that it would also cut the MAX off at the knees and they probably don’t want to do that this early. It’s not a comfortable position to be in.

  14. Patrick Lundy says:

    Hey good story, but I didn’t understand one comparison.

    You said the 757 replaced 727, but looking as a novice it seems like the planes aren’t very similar. The 707 looks more like the 757 it performance and passengers carried.

    So is there a story about what the 757 was going to replace vs what they actually did?
    Ps- It was my previous understanding that Boeing products in the 1970’s were regional: 727, midrange: 737, Long haul: 747, until the 757 & 767 came to further segment the market.

  15. Ian Littman says:

    If I had to guess about where Frontier will put their XLRs, Europe would be low on the list, even though I wish it wasn’t. My bet is on:

    1. Hawaii from central US westward (AUS-HNL is in range, for example, and would be a nice fit to run a few times per week, maybe alternating between AUS and SAT).
    2. Latin/South America leisure destinations from wherever; Spirit flies a fair number of those routes, but only from FLL or similar, and Frontier could run ’em sub-daily

    Frontier runs their current 321s in a less dense configuration (30-32 inch pitch) than Spirit, and it will be interesting to see whether they modify this config further for the XLR (e.g. more rows of Stretch), but already their 321 hard product is actually halfway reasonable for a ULCC (by contrast, 28-inch seat pitch is not).

    Now, if/when Norwegian fails, *that* would open an opportunity for them to do service to Europe. At which point a codeshare with Wizz would work out well. Heck, they could replicate the WOW model, but with North American routes run by Frontier and European routes run by Wizz…and the XLR would allow for hitting an enormous amount of territory (including the entire US) cheaply from an airport that would likely jump at the chance to get a new operator to replace WOW.

  16. Neil S. says:

    What is DL waiting for? They have a ton of A321s already, and with the NMA not near, why no XLR for them?

    • CF says:

      Neil S – Delta is always waiting for a good deal. This is the new hot airplane, so Delta will probably wait.

      • Tim Dunn says:

        and Delta has 100 A321NEOs on order and another 100 on option.

        The XLR is just a range enhanced version but there isn’t any evidence that Delta wants a 10 hour narrowbody.

        Delta and United both want the 797 and the widebody 797 MUST have better economics than the A321 or there is no business case for it.

        Airbus is simply trying to take some of the orders for a potential 797 off the table before Boeing offers the 797 but there is very little reason to believe that Boeing will waive the white flag on the Middle of the Market

        • Oliver says:

          Little reason? I guess the question is: how big is the market for MoM and can it be profitable. I don’t know that us armchair airframer CEOs can really know… and given some of the decisions made by professional airframer CEOs (MAX, A380, 748) even the people who should know may not make the right decision. It’s all speculation :)

          • Tim Dunn says:

            Boeing is well aware that Airbus has handedly won the large narrowbody market and continues to do so.

            They cannot ignore that reality even if they are not focusing on the transatlantic range.

            but they also realize that there is a market for a small widebody. The 787-8 and A330-800 is not economically viable.

            I am sure CF will keep up wiht the MoM market but I can assure you that Boeing is not walking away from it or expecting the 737 to fill it.

            • Oliver says:

              > The 787-8 and A330-800 is not economically viable.

              And yet they were both designed and built. That’s my point: BA/AB aren’t necessarily making the right decisions with all the data they have….why should I trust statements made by someone in internet blog comments? ;)

            • Tim Dunn says:

              Oliver,
              the market, not me and not A/B speaks what is economically viable.
              You need only look at sales of the 330-800 and 787-8 compared to their sister models to see what the market says is viable.

  17. DesertGhost says:

    Robert Isom mentioned that the new aircraft will fit into American’s overall capital plan. The airline anticipates spending $3 billion per year going forward. The XLRs won’t be delivered for almost 4 years (in 2023, with only 7 being delivered that year). The former management waited car too long go replace its old fleet. Don’t forget that the vast majority of the aircraft American has received in the last few years were ordered pre bankruptcy. And they were financed at historically low interest rates.

  18. EthaninSF says:

    Couldn’t Boeing take the 757 and perform a NEO update a la Airbus (A330 and A320)? aka a 757MAX. I realize the 757 has been out of production for several years, but I believe the 767 is still in production and weren’t the two planes designed and produced simultaneously? It seems like this could be a quicker move to get something on the order books than a full new aircraft. And like previous comments have stated, they could then devote the resources to a full new narrow body range. Whatever happened to the Yellowstone project?

    • CF says:

      Ethan – I think the problem is that the 757 does have relatively narrow appeal. Airbus has the A320neo family, and the XLR is just an extension of that. The ancient design of the 737 just isn’t suited to really fill that gap, it seems. So is it worth finding a way to restart the 757? Probably not. I don’t think there would be enough demand to justify the expense and effort involved. That’s why the new MoM airplane reaches further up, or it likely will. It gives it a broader appeal that should also start to overlap with the A330neos.

    • Tim Dunn says:

      Ethan,
      the biggest improvement in new generation models of existing aircraft (including the A320 and B737 models) has come from engine improvements.

      New generation engines are now in production that could replace the original engines on the 757 but the 757 is no longer in production and Boeing cannot restart the 757 line. It is permanently gone. Boeing saw no orders for the 757 for several years and discontinued production; like all models, there are peaks in orders and productions and that was esp. true with the 757 which was flown more by US airlines than by those of any other global region or for any other aircraft model. The 757 was intended to be a high-performance, larger narrowbody than anything on the market at the time and Boeing achieved that. Absent any proposals to improve it, airlines saw no value in ordering new versions and production stopped.

      The 767 needs 55-60,000 class engines. No new generation engine of that size is in production. That is also the engine size (+/-) that is needed for the widebody 797. By the time the 797 is put in production, the case for a re-engine 767 is made even less attractive. Boeing is not going to commit to the 797 and no engine manufacturer is going to commit to the 55-60k pound class of new generation engines until there is a large enough market. BA could get some mileage out of a new generation wing on the 767 but they are already fighting to make sure they have far better economics on the 797 relative to the A321 so are not going to compromise the 797 by throwing options in that won’t give Boeing a real advantage in the Middle of the Market which they cannot serve without a new aircraft. Further modifications of the 737 won’t sell in transatlantic versions when the A321 is handedly beating Boeing in the large narrowbody segment which is not transatlantic focused right now.

  19. MkAch Vanderbeeker says:

    The DC-9 “Super 80” was a knife in the heart of the 757. First, the “regionals” like PSA ordered the Super 80 over the 757. Then the 757 lost out to the majors, TWA and AA ordered Super 80s! Then the 757 lost out to the hometown Alaska Airlines – AS saying the 757 was too big – AS ordered Super 80s! Boeing almost shut the line down.

    Until AA and UA in the late 80’s placed orders for the 757 to replace widebodies on routes such as AUS-DFW-LGA, and LAS-DFW…etc The rest is history!

  20. Davey says:

    Boeing’s MOM design had best be game-changing, or else it will be the domestic version of the A380 — nice on paper but no buyers. Boeing simply rode with the 737 way longer than it should have and probably picked the wrong air frame to modify and upgrade.

    Would have been nice to see an all-new 757-400 MAXII rather than the 400 lawn ornaments sitting on runways, in airplane graveyards and elsewhere waiting for new software.

    One question: Why not offer an adapted 787-800 as a MOM aircraft?

    • David M says:

      Boeing did offer the 787-3 as a shorter range version. Same length but shorter wing, less range. JAL and ANA were the only customers (it was intended for the Japanese domestic market) but converted their orders to the -8. According to Wikipedia, the -8 is more efficient for flights longer than 200nm.

      Shrinks tend to suffer from being too much airplane for the size and have limited appeal. So a new MoM will generally have more appeal than a 787 shrink. The 737-700 and A319 did ok but haven’t proven very popular recently, and the 737-600 and A318 were both outsold by the 717, which had inferior range but better operating economics for the 100-seat class.

  21. southbay flier says:

    It looks like Boeing is going to have a lot of negative repercussions from a bad 2019 that will hamper them for years to come.

    They have the MAX issues. The MAX issues are going to keep them from working on other projects.

    They don’t have something that replaces a 757/767 and their competitor does.

    They may really to come up with a new 737 sooner than later if the public continues to have fear of this plane, which takes resources away from other projects.

    I wonder if Airbus is going to become the dominant aircraft manufacturer for a while.

  22. peter says:

    I guess I was surprised that Boeing would shoot itself in the foot with the 737 Max’s but I am doubly surprised that they could reload and shoot again so quickly by missing the 757 replacement or MOM.  Boeing has thrown a large bone to Airbus and I’m not sure they can recover. Too little, too late. Oh yeah, they still haven’t brought anything forward to compete with the 321XLR. Can’t they rub their belly and scratch their head simultaneously?

  23. Claudia says:

    Will this new 321 be able to fly in and out of EGE?

    • CF says:

      Claudia – If the neo can do it, then this one could, but I can’t imagine anywhere they’d fly this airplane that would require that kind of range.

      • Claudia says:

        I just ask because AA uses the 757 to fly EGE because it has the power to be able to take off. From what I understand the normal 321 can’t do that, so would the Neo or XLR be able to?

        • CF says:

          Claudia – I don’t know if the neo can do it. I know an A319 can (and does) do it. Maybe a neo can, but I don’t see anyone having scheduled that.

  24. Viv says:

    Methinks there’s one hell of a lot of revisionist history here. The only two groups of people I ever heard liking the 757 were people putting them in the air, and number crunchers. I’m old enough to remember flying 757 when it first came out and how much flight attendants hated it because of the narrow aisle and long pencil structure. The cowboys loved that you could run it in and out of LGA (and smaller airports), but it was never that great for passengers. I find the slight advantage in width that the A32X has to be noticeable. Not going to miss at all.

    Now the 767 – nothing beats 2-3-2 in coach.

    • Jean Delisi says:

      I would dig a 767 Max.

    • The 757 always felt more comfortable than a 737 even though they have the same fuselage cross section. I think there is a slight difference in the floor position that makes a 757 feel more roomy even though the seats are still the same.

      However, with the stretched 737 variants replacing the 757 and 767, it’s been a huge downgrade. The 737 is my least favorite non regional plane that I’ve been on.

    • David M says:

      > Now the 767 – nothing beats 2-3-2 in coach.

      2-4-2 on the A330/A340 is just as good, and it seems to be a bit quieter ride. Maybe a side effect of coming out a decade later?

    • Ken says:

      Agreed. I don’t like the 757 and would rather connect than fly a narrow-body on a long-haul.

  25. Stogieguy7 says:

    The 757’s ‘hot and high’ performance is hard to beat and it will not be so easily replaced. For years, AA had routes (like Tegucigalpa) where only the 757 could be dispatched. The 321XLR may have the range, but it won’t have the muscle car abilities that the 757 brings to the table.

    As for Boeing: they totally missed the bus. They invested most of their energies into a stretched and face-lifted 60 year old design that is aviation’s answer to a 1978 Chevette, performancewise. Meanwhile, customer’s pleas for a 757 replacement went unanswered because Boeing “knows better”. It is with enjoyment that I watch Airbus eat this arrogant company’s lunch. As for the so-called 797 design, color me skeptical. A smaller widebody design? Why? I’m not seeing airlines asking for this, nor would it adequately fill the gap that was created when the 757 was foolishly dropped. These guys really need to clean house and rethink absolutely everything they are doing.

    • Jason H says:

      The customer pleas for a 757 replacement came a decade too late. There was little interest in the 757 in the early 2000s when it was discontinued, while much of the transatlantic flying and recent demand has only been in the 2010s. How was Boeing supposed to know the market 10 years in the future?

      • Mark Skinner says:

        It might sound a bit harsh, but when you demand compensation in the millions per year because this sort of prediction and planning is your job, expect to get fired if you get it wrong. If these guys are not to be held accountable for wrong decisions, then their high compensation is undeserved.

        • Jason H says:

          If you can accurately predict terrorist attacks, oil prices, and economic downturns that were all huge factors in changing the airline industry in the early 2000s then you could make far more than a few million per year working for Boeing.

          • Mark Skinner says:

            Yes, but the discussion is about how Airbus got to this latest model of A321 vs the position of Boeing, specifically the 757.

            How have Airbus done in negotiating the commercial world, including the issues you mention, vs Boeing executives. Given the line-up of airplanes front both manufacturers, which one looks to be in the better position?

            • Jason H says:

              Given the 737 max issues and the announcement of the A321LR, airbus certainly has a better position, but for larger aircraft they are both pretty competitive.

              The big decisions made in the past by both companies only look like obviously good or bad ideas 10-20 years in the future (dropping the 757, going for a 4-engined A340 vs. 2-engined 777, developing the A380 etc…) which now are affecting their current lineup.

              Back in 2000, there was no evidence to show that keeping the B757 in production was a good idea and there wouldn’t have been for another 10 years. In what world is it sensible to keep running an assembly line for 10 years when there is no demand for the product?

            • peter says:

              But, you could have held on to the tooling

  26. Yo says:

    The 757 is truly a wonderful plane, I will really miss them, nothing like sitting in the last row during a SNA takeoff! So many great ETOPS flights to Hawaii on America West, USAirways, TWA and ATA, I miss those airlines too! Cudos to Airbus for realizing the market and coming out with a well built plane instead of doing the usual Boeing crap…how did that work out for them?

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