Reality check

There’s been a lot of talk lately about a replacement for the 757. The fact is, today’s 737 and other airplanes its size already fly 90 percent of flights that used to be operated with a 757. And in the future, that number will jump to 95 percent thanks to airplanes like the 737 MAX.

For example, take Norwegian Airlines. They recently announced plans to use the 737 MAX 8 on transatlantic routes beginning in 2017. Other large 757 operators have publicly noted their continued discussions with Boeing around airplanes for transatlantic missions.

Meanwhile, Airbus claims its proposed long ranger version of the A321neo is a true 757 replacement. In reality, it falls short in two big ways. It can’t match the 757’s range, and it can’t carry as many passengers.

The 737 MAX 9 and the A321neoLR are both capable of North Atlantic range by adding auxiliary tanks, with the 737 MAX 9 flying the mission more efficiently. The A321neoLR needs three auxiliary tanks and increased takeoff weight— while the 737 MAX 9 could do the mission with just one auxiliary tank, allowing for more cargo space.


The 737 MAX 8 and MAX 9.

The 737 MAX is a great airplane that’s sized right for the heart of the single-aisle market— along with the right range capabilities. It’s a key part of our overall product development strategy, that along with the 777X and 787-10, is set for the next decade.

As for that space in between the upper end of the 737 and the 787-8, we continue to talk with our customers to better understand their needs in the future.

Comments (10)

Bob Sullivan (Oakwood GA):

In discussing a replacement for the 757, nothing will replace it.The B737Max the A320 neo as replacements will fall short. I think we are looking in the wrong direction. As the 787 matures, the nine and ten's are produced, a great product to replace and exceed the 757 in every respect, that being the 787-8. I have not flown the 78 but have flown both the 73 and 75 for about 11000 hrs, The 787-8 would fit better in the future time frame plan.

V V (Montreal, Quebec):

Yes, there has been a lot of jibber-jabber about the "757 replacement" when in reality a huge majority of 757's role has been taken over by A320 or 737 family.

For the remaining very small part of the 757 market a sulotion is still to be offered. It clearly is not the A321neo.

My blog posted a short discussion about it (click here).

Alain (Springfield, VA):


I understand you have to believe in your product and it might do what you promise it will but, numbers show the A321 is much more successful than the 737-900/ER

Since 2001, the year the 737-900 entered service, 334 737-900/ER have been delivered compared to 837 of the A321 in the same period of time.

Furthermore, the A321neo has 734 firm orders compared to only 217 of the 737 MAX 9 per

Don't get me wrong, I'm a bog Boeing fan but, reality shows a different picture of what you present here.

Eric J. (Denver):

Bob is spot on and sums up what Randy is saying. You simply CAN'T replace the 757. It is a shame that workhorse still isn't being made. Let's see what comes next.

Julien (France):

Dear Randy,

I agree with Alain (Springfield, VA). The A321 sales are more successful than the 737-900. I'm a fan of Boeing airplanes and I'm really sad to notice that Airbus is gaining more market share than Boeing in single-aisle market. I know BOEING invested a lot in 787, 777X and MAX program. However, why BOEING doesn't re-introduce the 787-3 to fit the missions of the 757? Please, don't let Airbus A321NEO LR to capture the market. BOEING is a leader, not the second of the class.

Matt (Belfast, UK):

The achilles heel of the 737MAX (and especially the -9) is its runway performance. A -9 at MTOW, full passengers (and luggage), max range it struggles to take off at temperatures greater than 30C; even below that you are getting very close to 13,000ft of runway, this is the length of a space shuttle emergency landing runway. The low ground clearance effectively cripples its MTOW runway performance; you can't put big fans on it and hot and high the 737MAX-9 is a sitting duck.

Max range on a MAX means giving up revenue per flight, especially flying west at mid latitudes and you are flying out of regional airports; even sometimes out of international airports.

Norman Garza (Long Beach, CA):

I don't think as of now a true 757 replacement exist in any official proposal though I have seen concepts developed by Boeing, the NSA and MOM in Aviation Week that would more or less fit in the that category.

The A321neoLR would need a bigger wing span and for a plane well over 200,000 lbs MTOW it would also need an appropriate landing gear fit for a plane of that mass. The 737-900MAX though smaller can use fewer modifications but cant be stretched but a few inches.

Cristiano Arruda:

I guess the 737-900ER and the -9X should have a second and forth access doors in the front section of the fuselage like the A320 does and the 757 had. That makes a huge difference in the treatment, like small A300 and 767 respectively. What happens to the 737-900ER and the -9X is exactly happened to the 707, the embarks and disembarks get slow because of the number of passengers in such length of corridor. Also the second left door of the A321 is as wide as the first one, this gives more impression of a wide-body aircraft treatment to the clients. Because many still defend the thesis of a 757 replacement. In fact, if the shapes of the 737 and 747 are still kept, so why not keeping the shape of the 757 alive, but up to date of the newest technologies? I guess that the front section of the 757 is more efficient with aerodynamics than the A321's. However until now nothing compares to the nose shape aerodynamic efficiency of the 737s.

Victor` (Nairobi, Kenya):


It’s quite obvious that Boeing’s product strategy is in solid shape and your market analysis is quite robust considering projections provided overtime. This is why we expect any challenges experienced 737 will be resolved effectively, beginning with the MAX and finally with a NSA currently being studied.

I have some breaking news though……

Reports making headlines in Africa indicates that Santa landed earlier than expected this festive season in Toulouse with ‘goodies’ of ‘market truths’ with inscription ‘the A380 will not attain the 2,000 plus sales hype advocated by its proponents…’ thus confirming Blagnac’s worst fears.
The moral of the story: be wary also with short-term success of A320 because the 737 MAX will cruise with contrails of precision and appealing performance across our skies. Thank you and Merry Christmas from Africa!

checklist (France):

Hi everybody,

Julien, Boeing is the best. it produces more than Airbus. It remains to deliver 787's (-8 / -9 to 10) 737 Max's and 777-Xs.

Dear Randy,

I wonder if a 767-Max (-8 / -9 / -10) with a smaller range than the 787-8 & -9 will more sense? For the two thousand 757 & 767 sellers have targeted the market effectively to meet demand.

Randy, do you not ask the question if the 757 was not started with the 767 there would have been a little more demand for 767? In my estimation there would be 1200 767's "only" and zero 757's, because it is not launched? ... The A330neo case is the same with the A350-XWB.

If it was not launched it would not be sold over-A350 XWB too. I think the 757 has not cannibalized the 767 and the A330 neo will not cannibalize the A350. Then the 767 Max does not cannibalize the 787 too? ...

Thank you.

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