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.”

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.

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.

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.