Could Boeing Build A 757X?

Could the answer to Boeing’s woes be a MAX version of its 757 product? The Boeing 757 fits the mission profile so perfectly for some airlines that they have no intention of retiring the type – despite it no longer being in production.

757 sunset
A Boeing 757 comes into land. Photo: Getty Images

What are the details?

The Boeing 757 is a success story. It sold 1,050 units over a 24 year period, with many of the existing aircraft still in use today as either passenger aircraft or converted freighters. But despite its success, Boeing admitted that they had no business case for additional upgrades to the type in 2015 and thus shut down the production line.

“We’re not studying 757 re-engined replacements right now. It just doesn’t work,” says Boeing vice-president Randy Tinseth, published by Flight Global in 2015. “That airplane had a unique, very unique, production system. It was relatively expensive to build compared to the 737, The business case is just not going to close.”

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Part of the problem was that the production of the type was expensive. The Boeing 757 was built on the same production line as the Boeing 737, but thanks to being longer and bigger, it didn’t fit right and needed different tools.

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Thus, Boeing moved onwards with a new design, one that could be built on a different production line and have all the upgrades derived from the Boeing 787 program. 

American 757
American is keeping some older aircraft, like the 757, for a longer time. Photo: Getty Images

Why would a Boeing 757 MAX work now?

However, now that Boeing has decided to shelve the plans for a Boeing 797 aircraft, they can go back to the drawing board and look at other plans. One idea is to upgrade the Boeing 757 design (MAXify it if you will) and bring it back into production.

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The advantages would be two-fold:

  1. The aircraft is already certified. Boeing would not have to spend upwards of five years to bring it to market. Boeing could have it flying in 1-2 years and be selling right away as a competitor option to the Airbus A321XLR.
  2. Airlines already know the Boeing 757 and around 550 are still being used as passenger aircraft in fleets around the world. It makes perfect sense to operate the type for some and Boeing would easily win some customers the day of (if not before) they announce the aircraft.
United A321XLR
United plans on replacing Boeing 757-200s with Airbus A321XLR aircraft. Photo: Airbus

What would a Boeing 757 MAX look like?

So what would a Boeing 757 MAX look like?

It would be very similar to a Boeing 757-300. It would seat 240 passengers in a two-class configuration and would fly a new range of around 4,500 nautical miles thanks to new engine technology. The aircraft would have little other improvements apart from an improved cabin space (better overhead bins and LED lighting) and winglets.

Essentially it would be the same upgrade that Airbus did for their A320 to A320neo.

The only major risk for Boeing would be the production process. They would need a way to retool the production line in order to facilitate cheaper Boeing 757 production.

What do you think of this plan? Would this work for Boeing? Let us know in the comments.

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Mallthus

Arguably, a 757NG With a shared type rating would bring the potential for all the same kinds of issues Boeing inflicted upon themselves by trying to stretch the existing 737 type rating to cover the 737MAX.

TransWorld

The 757 was a very costly aircraft to build. It also was costly to operate as it had higher t****t than today’s aircrat (for its TOW) – that means it was not as economical in direct terms. Its reason for continued use is like all older aircraft, its either paid… Read more »

Michael

Do it Boeing. You have to bring something to the table fairly quickly to rival the 321XLR. Airbus is eating your lunch and if you don’t do something, there going to keep taking business. Wake up Boeing

Tamer Kiy

757 and 767 is my favorite aircraft. I hope it’s possible to max the 757, it would be a great way to stay ahead of Airbus, fill the gap between 731 and 788. Are there current engines that could be used if not how long would it take for appropriate… Read more »

David C.

The Idea of making a 737 MAX is a non starter. 1/ Why would you use the word MAX for a new airframe? Its badly tainted as is. 2/ Restarting the old production line would mean Aluminium fuselage, wing box and wing. plus it was a cable and pulley flight… Read more »

Henning

Its only around 350 757 operating as passengers aircraft today. Of those 2/3 is used by 4 operators, United, Delta, American and Icelandair. The rest of the 757 passenger aircraft is more or less used by small airlines from the former Soviet Union.

Gary

It wouldn’t need to change much in shape.
As like the A320/321 the Boeing 757 has the long legs to put larger engines underneath it.
Use composite materials as well to make it lighter and maybe the MAX winglet tips as well.

WR2

I like the idea, but why not also a new composite wing? Then in parallel design a new clean sheet single aisle. The 797 twin aisle isn’t going to happen, and the lower seating capacity range of the 737 is better addressed through the A220 or E190, so the 757… Read more »

Gordoncy

Suppose all the remaining 300 passenger 757s are replaced. Many inevitably has ordered A321LR or XLR; some downsize to a 737Max; some of the 54 757-300 perhaps move up to a twin aisle. So an upgraded design for <200 customers? Once upgraded, where’s the room for NMM? Stuck between a… Read more »

Om Prakash Pandey Mumbai

I am thanking you for publishing this article. Certainly Boeing 757 will certainly be a genuinely attractive aircraft. It is already in operation and already a trusted aircraft. Lower investment Always results into lowering prices of tickets. Boeing must bring 757 back in production. But BOEING MUST NOT USE THE… Read more »

Neil W

So where are these new 757 Max engines going to come from and how is an engine OEM going to develop and certify a new engine in just 1 or 2 years.

Patrickk

The 757 will require new wings and a new flight control system in addition to new engines. Whether that can be cheaper than a new design is the question.

James Farlow

A twin aisle attracts customers. Airlines need customer focus to compete. So offer the 767 which is still in production. Manufacturing is Mature and costs low, no need to certify beyond engine change. This would steal back orders from the A321. Might not be quite as fuel efficient but very… Read more »

Nst

I think that they should change the max and forget all about that type of series and make it dash like they did for the 747

Lars Palsig

PERFECT Idear…!!! It is a little obvious.. 757 is a wonderful plane..And with those long legs nearly any size
of engine can fit UNDER the wing..!! Love it….

Charles E Janeke

B757 is class of its own because (1) big-plane dimensions (stability) (2) big-pane wheels (4wh/boogy) (3) powerful engines (surge of take-off power // fly higher) (4) larger cabins (SPACE) (5) better restroom/kitchen spacing (6) better (midway) entry/exit configuration. However that’s where 757 likeness stops. New 757-XX must be gifted with… Read more »

Don MacCallum

This possibility had also occurred to me given that the 737 Max issues mostly originate from the difficulty in accommodating the larger LEAP engines. An updated 757 with its higher ground clearance would not have that problem.

Savio Aurelius Dsouza

I feel yes surely being 757 a popular air craft amoung the pilots still they call it the sports car of the skies …..instead of building a whole new air frame get the 757 back into production line with new state of the digital instruments new echo friendly engines and… Read more »

Alex

Most sensible thing to do is develop a new clean-sheet 737-757 size narrowbody for the end of the decade and target the A320ceo, 737NG and 757 replacement cycles. Bringing back the 757 for a niche market doesn’t justify the expense and complexity that would be involved in re-engineering a 40… Read more »

Angie

Honestly would love to see the 757 in the skies as long as possible. Beautiful bird, she is.

Pete A

What are u waiting for Boeing. That sounds better than rebranding the 737. Just my 2 cents

High Mile Club

It would’ve become a reality if the market competition for the small single isle jets wasn’t too big for Boeing to ignore. At this point though, most 757s are getting phased out for either a neo or 787, and those birds aren’t getting any younger. It’s not hard to imagine… Read more »

John

A B762max and/or B763max and/or B764max could be built cheaply on the existing B763F / KC46 line. A B752max and/or B753max could also be built on the same line but I wouldn’t expect Boeing to develop both a B75max and B76max. It would likely be one or the other. The… Read more »

stogieguy7

I’ve long thought that this is what Boeing should have done. Unlike the 737, the 757 is a brilliant aircraft. And clearly, the market is not so limited for it as they initially thought. MAXifying it would be the most efficient and cost effective way of filling that hole and… Read more »

janj

Boeing FSA should be based loosely on the 757 that can be shrink to accommodate the 180-220 market size. I’m not so sure though if Boeing will work with the E-Jets of they could stretch it with efficiency up to 150 seats, then they have a solid product to offer… Read more »

JOSEPH PASQUARELLO

Prior to retiring 10 years ago I flew the 57 many times on my trips to Puerto Rico, LA, and Dallas. Recently flew it to Paris on Delta. I always loved traveling on that aircraft. Also, in my opinion I feel it is the most aerodynamically beautiful aircraft ever produced.… Read more »

Christian Wainwright

Yeh and forget that old outdated nose that looks
very 1950’s. For Gods sake don’t spruce up everything and stick that old nose on her. And don’t tell me it can’t be done. It’s being done right now on several planes and we have been to the moon….and back.

Sheldoninst

The real question is whether or not the proposed horizontal oval shape cross section of the fuselage, only possible with composite materials, will work for this NMA/MOM/FSA sweet spot? The B757 was sort of a hybrid of the 707/727/737 fuselage and the 767 cockpit (hence its unique bulb-shaped nose), but… Read more »

Mark Taylor

Just too expensive. Boeing would have to find Factory space, Rebuild the construction rigging, put in new avionics, probably rebuild the wings so they can hold the larger heavier engines and still maintain stability. A year of flight testing. almost certainly would need a new type rating so the added… Read more »

William

B757 production shutdown in 2003 and a few years latter a flood destroyed much of the tooling making an easy restart impossible. Boeing had proposed a 757-200X with heavy undercarriage components of the B757-300 to give a range of 5000NM. The 1 hour ETOPS rule really hamstrung Boeing. With modern… Read more »

Joe Steigleiter

It makes perfect sense to me , to take a Known proven product and just make a few modern adjustments to it , to make it better in this time , there would be so much time An money saved , from engineering prospects alone , every thing has already… Read more »

Joe mamma

No they won’t. Tooling is mostly in the recycle bin and the drawings are mainly on paper.

John Radovich

I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t retrieve 757. 797 will be costly and we cannot risk another delay on new model while airlines are still operating 757. It can take off from short runway too also with composite wings and newer engines designed on 757 will be eye… Read more »

Jim Hertsch

And you know what? The 757 has enough ground clearance it could handle bigger engines outwith the need for MCAS

Lapplander

Restarting 757 production will only take 1-2 years? Is there a source for that this is realistically possible for an aircraft which was drawn by hand in the late 1970s the jigs were destroyed back production stopped in 2004 (not 2015 like above)? The CRT flight deck is no longer… Read more »

TransAtlantic

Boeing learned the lesson after prematurely closing the 757 line. 767 was slowed to a crawl until new orders came for freighters and tankers giving a realistic option of 767 Max as a stop gap instead of 797. 757 has been out of production for more decade and a half.… Read more »

Bergsteinn Harðarson

Boing ýsu should dó it . Í dó nót Knowles what the airline in my County will dó they have 37 757 and 2-4 767. They bought í think 10-15 737. They would have í think the up grædd 757. This is Icelandair. Í persónutengdar World like the New 757.… Read more »

Davey79

Being a 70’s design the 757 although great in its day! Would require extensive modernisation and weight reductions. Which brings into question whether it would even be cost effective for Boeing vs a clean sheet programme. To make it competitive in cost and in service, I suspect not. On top… Read more »

Christopher Bryant

I love the 757. Flew it from both Phoenix and LA to Honolulu 3 tines. U wish Boeing would consider rebuilding it. Wonderful olane