757, 737-900ER/9 MAX, A321 replacement should be the next new airplane

The Boeing 757 doesn’t have a true replacement. The Airbus 321neo and Boeing 737-9 fall short. The 9 MAX doesn’t measure up to the A321neo. Boeing has to move toward a program to replace the 757 and the 737-9.

 With the launch of the Boeing 777X a given, what’s next in aircraft development?

John Leahy, COO-Customers of Airbus, gave a tantalizing hint at the ISTAT conference last week in Barcelona, Spain, when he said the OEM was studying a stretch of the 350-seat A350-1000 to fill the gap between it and the 525 A380 and to compete with the 400-seat 777-9. But then he tried to reel it back, saying there was “no story here,” according to Aviation Week.



  • KING5 (NBC Seattle) has this report about the 757 replacement.



Then Boeing’s own Joe Ozimek, who heads sales for the 737 MAX, asked the lessor’s panel which aircraft do they want and CIT Aerospace president Jeff Knittel said a replacement for the Boeing 757, Tweeted AFM magazine.


This is what we think will be the next big project.


We reported in March 2012 that Boeing continued studies-dubbed the New Airplane Study, or NAS-of a replacement for the 757 even after launching the 737 MAX program and billing the 737-9 as the 757’s replacement.


Except that it isn’t. Far from it.


The 737-9 doesn’t have the range, the field performance or the payload of the 757. Neither does the Airbus A321neo, although it is much better than the 737-9.


Entry-into-service for what we will dub the 757R is envisioned for 2025-2027, leaning toward the former.


During the media briefings in advance of the Paris Air Show, Boeing acknowledged it saw a market for the 757 replacement. Although 1,049 757s were built in its production run ending in 2003, a solid sales effort for its era, we believe the market is far larger when you consider the general up-gauging that’s been happening and the sales of the A321ceo/neo and the 737-900/900ER/9. Through September, there have been 1,861 A321 family sales and 766 of the largest 737 family siblings sold. Combined with the 757 sales, this totals 3,676 programs sales for all three airplanes, excluding future sales.



















Although Boeing claims the 737-9 is a replacement for the 757, for some 80% of the missions, and while Boeing claims the 737-9 is better than the A321neo, sales figures tell the story. Furthermore, airlines we talk to universally tell us the A321neo is more capable than the 737-9.


The combined sales figures demonstrate that Boeing is trailing badly in the 180-220 seat single-aisle sector, with a mere 29% share of the market and even worse with the 737-9 at just 27.5% of re-engined competition. To recapture this market, Boeing has to proceed with a new airplane.


We believe a 2025 EIS means activity will begin to truly ramp up for decision-making as early as 2017. Eight years now is becoming the norm for new airplane development lead time.


Development of the true 737 replacement will then flow out of development of the 757R. The first 737 MAX EIS, for the -8, is slated for July 2017. The -9 follows in 2018 and the -7 in 2019, assuming the only two customers (Southwest Airlines and WestJet) don’t swap these for larger models or proceed with another solution entirely.


We believe the MAX, coming two years behind the Airbus neo family, will have a shorter production life than the neo, especially with the poor-selling and poorer-performing -9. A 10-11 year production run is probably a reasonable expectation.


Airbus and Boeing each have said they expect a replacement for today’s single-aisle airplanes around 2030. We believe this may be advanced a few years to as early as 2027.


The question is, which company goes first? We think Boeing has the greater need and greater motivation. We believe Boeing will be first off the mark.

87 Comments on “757, 737-900ER/9 MAX, A321 replacement should be the next new airplane

  1. B757R: needs to fill 240-280 PAX single class, range up to TATL in 2-class layout (~220-240 Pax). Kind of B767, but slightly smaller in size. In my opinion twin aisle. Capacity of small model large enough to be not in direct competition with single aisles. Ultimate stretch useful as short range people mover (300 PAX capacity). Market currently not existent, so risky business.

  2. Very interesting analysis as usual. IMHO :
    1. The NEO concept was the holp-up of the century. I guess it was the John Leahy’s dream to make Boeing fall into this trap.
    2. To be the first one to launch a NSR won’t be an advantage : there’s a tough and very risky choice to make : the fuselage size (single or twin aisle). The second one on the market will have a comparison basis and will be able to counter attack (provide a better economics) with a different concept or the same concept with a larger and/or longer airplane. Second stage of the JL’s trap.

    • A bit of a history rewrite, Birdy?

      Boeing was adamant the “all new materials” NSA was “just around the corner” labeling a reengine as a futureless effort (similar tactics enabled Microsoft to preemt the competition for decades )
      Airbus ( or Leahy if you want to go with that popular “Feindbild” ) called that bluff by announcing the A320 NEO. Rhodos or not Boeing as predicted couldn’t “jump”.
      Any kind of NSA will now appear late in the window Airbus predicted as suitable.

      Re a 757 replacement:
      Who beyond the US legacies makes intensive use of 757 frames?
      ( and how commercially succesful is their type related activity?)

  3. There is still room beyond A321 for a 210″ stretch to A322. As you are aware, Scott, I do not myself think such a stretch will ever happen in the [3+3] config (due very precisely to the infamed ‘757 syndrome’) but a H22QR makes sense.

    • I think one can agree with the A321 still be able to receive a stretch. But wouldn’t that compromise the performance disadvantage over the 757 some more? So while the capacity is able to keep up, any small field and/or hot&high scenario will suffer (some more).

      • H22QR with Premium [1+2+1] and Economy [1+3+1] is a ‘light-MTOW’ stretch to the A321; with upgraded NEO, it would efficiently replace the 757, enabling operators to eradicate the “757 syndrome” from both skies & airports !

  4. The Cseries has a 115′ wingspan for a 130KLb load. So for a 200 to 225KLb load of the 739 and A321, one would think the optimally efficient wing would be near 140′ or so.

    I think the new cleansheet will be in the 250Klb to 300Klb range, with double axle main gear. I’m voting for a 14.5′ circular fuse for simplicity. 2-2-2 seating is good for overhead bin space, with 15″ dividers in all the bins, everyone can have their own bin with their seat number on it big enough for a roll aboard bag.

    • Did you notice the Airbus patent about folding wing tips explicitly mentions a 36 meter wing span what should be kept at the gate?

      Will Airbus built a fuselage right in between A320 and A350 – diameter 5 m / 16.4′? So the fuselage can carry full size LD3. What about the seating then? 2 aisles with 7 seats or 8 seats (high density)? Is it reasonable to get one seat more by adding one extra aisle?

      • Yes, a 5.1 m diameter is required.

        Initially, a streamlined shape without a cylindrical center section was selected for the fuselage to keep the transonic drag low. Later, the center portion of the fuselage was replaced by a cylindrical part with a smooth transition between the cabin part and the cockpit area respectively the tail cone to keep wave drag low. The diameter of the cabin has been kept at a minimum which allows for a twin aisle 2-2-2 or 2-3-2 seating arrangement (see figure 4). The diameter was chosen so, that it possible to carry two typical LD-3 containers side by side which requires a minimum diameter of 5.1 meters.Seating could be arranged so that 25 first class seats are available and the remaining seats can be used for a mixed business / economy class seat arrangement as needed.


      • Yes, one more aisle for one more seat makes sense. Of course, two more seats for one additional aisle is even better, but a side-by-side LD3 does not appear a good requirement for me. Makes the fuselage too large. An updated A321 would beat such design on CASM.

  5. ” We believe Boeing will be first off the mark.”

    Agreed. We shouldn’t stare at the 757 in isolation. It’s the middle of the market were 757, 767-200, A300, A310 and Tu154 sold thousands and larger aircraft are miss used. Key markets are leisure flights, Intra Asia, EMEA and US Transcon.

    I see it separately from the NB market. If you design a base airframe capable of moving 250 people 4000NM, that same frame gets slaughtered in its shrink version by CS500 like aircraft around 150 seats 2 class. Guess where most aircraft are sold.. So the 130-250 seat segment seens too large to cover with 1 design.

    If Boeing goes 757R will they loose the market up to 170 seats? Thats the question IMO.

    Airbus seems less pressure but have the better opportunity IMO. The A320 fuselage & systems are there. Wider seats in the back, a container capable belly, spacey / silent cockpit, FBW and a huge fleet & backlog to build on. The big modification would be an entirely new wing providing a MTOW bump, lift for good field performance and space for even bigger (86inch?) fans. Maybe a seagull like design like the Embraer E2’s. Pratt said their current NEO GTF is dimensioned for growth up to 40klbs.


    • What useable MTOW limit would a A321 derived plane with 40m..43m wingspan (foldable down to 35m ) and 40klb engines have ? ( Just saw this Airbus folding wingtip patent mentioned elsewhere)

      • 43m Span:
        Lower limit: 105-110t for high aspect ratio, low wing loading.
        Upper limit: 145t for low aspect ratio (~9), high wing loading.

      • Would that wingtip folding really be a thing in this segment? Just wondering if I would engineer a plane with a complexity and weight disadvantage just to fit the gate spots. This leaves the door open for a competition needing more parking space but offering better enroute performance instead.

        Assuming that the fuel costs go up the way they do, my hinged wing part would force me to compromise a more vital factor.

      • Simon,
        the Airbus patent directly references a 35m span craft.
        Induced Drag has an inverse dependency on Aspect Ration.
        ( and induced drag dominates the performance at lower speeds. Thus better aspect ratio increases runway performance, useable MTOW, decreases required engine thrust which reduces OEW )
        If new technology can reduce parasitic drag …
        Fuel has taken up a significantly larger percentile of cost.
        Higher weight for better sfc in engines is an established solution.
        Higher weight to increase aspect ration will probably move in too.
        ( actually it already has : see the A330 )
        Then, expanding infrastructure for physical growth of NB craft will
        have much more impact ( i.e. more airfields where the biggest “visitor” will grow ) than wider span WB craft like the 777 ( usually airfileds that already see 747 and 380 )

  6. When you design it twin aisle, you have to make it big. Bigger than the B757. Capacity (single class economy) needs to be at least 240 (reference: in this class standard the A321 has 200 seats). It might be useful to have two wing models: one sized to cope with ICAO III standard ( 40m). But not sure if that make sense as business case.
    Range is the key question: if one does with two wing designs, I would recommend up to 4500nm for the 240 PAX version.
    A stretch to 280-300 people seems sensible. Less range though (no TATL), or crappy field performance.
    Any design needs to be better or comparable in seat-mile cost than the best possible single aisle. And that is the real challenge.
    The good old 188inch cross section of the B7J7 or DC-11 appears best solution. Allows 2-3-2 at 17.7inch, 2-2-2 at 19inch. Larger of no use, smaller neither. Next best is 2-4-2, but that shots best capacity at 280 seats.

    • As per link up thread, 201 inch cross-section allows for two typical LD-3 containers side by side.

      • I doubt the author (who I know personally) did the trade what this LD3 capability actually costs in terms of CASM. No one needs so much cargo capacity on these routes.

      • The container height pushes the floor so far up that the fuselage curvature encroaches significantly onto the window seats.
        The 222″ A300 crosssection seems to be about the limit for what can be deemed acceptable. Maybe a couple of inches for shaved frames and insulation

      • “I doubt the author (who I know personally) did the trade what this LD3 capability actually costs in terms of CASM. No one needs so much cargo capacity on these routes.

        Schorsch, it’s a concept analysis for the aborted Sonic Cruiser programme which was obviously never intended as a single aisle replacement.

        I just posted the link to confirm that mhalblaub’s 5m estimate was in the right ballpark.

      • Uwe, I would guess that one could make the cross-section just a little bit ovoid (i.e. this would then become a double-lobe fuselage cross-section), where the diameter of the lower lobe would be 5.1m (i.e. assuming a full circle) and the upper lobe diameter would be slightly larger in order to provide a litte bit more clearance between the window seats and the sidewall panels.

        Of course, this doesn’t mean that this cross-section is the right choice for the replacement aircraft for the current single aisles, but it could be OK for an aircraft sized between an A321 and an A358.

  7. If Airbus makes a bigger wing they would do it for at least two versions, one focussed on payload range and one for capacity (leisure). I assumed a bigger wing (4m bigger span, volume), significant higher MTOW but don’t overdo.


    If you go for cargo capcity above LD3-45, twin aisles and more range-capacity the aircraft will become heavy, big, expensive too. Airlines want lean machines no SUV’s.

    • Or at least: most airlines want …
      Indeed, the “threat” to any small twin aisle would be the maximum single aisle. The B757-300 couldn’t compete versus new single aisles. But that will be 20 years ago when such new development happens. There is a reason why there isn’t anything between A321 and B787-8: it is a dangerous zone.

    • Why not a bigger wing for the A320 or A320 Plus as well. There must be some demand for a longer range A320?

  8. Did a mistake above: ICAO III is <=36m. A320, B737.
    ICAO IV is below 47ish m.
    A "good" wing for a 100+t aircraft needs 40-45m span if range is required.
    36m is acceptable if range is less than 2000nm.

    • Well the A321 does OK so far with 34m span (+Sharklets) So adding 4m to 38m (like the 123t 753) for a MTOW of 103t seems lean and mean to me. A bigger wing means drag & weight too. I guess you want to avoid going bigger getting into a chain reaction of weightgrowth, fuel burn and decreasing fleet commonality.

      A slightly different topic but an A320 “Plus” optimized for the 200 seats airlines ask for, seems low hanging fruit for Airbus. It would IMO accelerate a Boeing NSA because it would neutralize the large A320-A321 (180-236 seats) capacity gap and the 737-8 and -9 positioned in between.

      • The B757 had a dismal aerodynamic layout for cruise flight.
        A re-winged A320 (which is an option given the tremenduous gain in gross weight and available new technology) would be tough decision whether to really harvest the technology and going 40m span, or too keep ICAO III and lose some of the potential.
        A new aircraft above the A320 will violate ICAO III. Otherwise unthinkable. If you exceed it, go all the way to the optimum. Fuel doesn’t get cheaper.

  9. Going first might benefit Boeing if they get it right and if the a320 also needs replacement, then there won’t be much new tech between the launch of one and the other. On the other hand if there is not much new in the next 15 years Airbus might be able to get a few more years out of the a320 and could use discounts to make life hard for Boeings NSA. Impossible to say at this stage who will work and what won’t but I don’t believe 757 replacement as a stand alone product will work, it will need to kill the a321/max-9, even on 1000 mile segments, and will to an extent compete with the 787-8.

  10. I am suspicious the UDF will be a large component of any future NSA (in addition to GTF). This would allow rear-mounted engines to return, and advantages/flexibility for wing design as well. Mature 787 systems (!) could be applies also and the electric, composite, UDF narrow body might then achieve significant advantages/savings.

    But the engine would need to be close to ready/mature by 2015-2016 for this to happen. I am not sure if that is realistic.

    • UDF can also applied on locations they have been for 90 years. Avoids some of the complications of wing pylon wakes hitting the fans, creating lots of noise noise (Piaggio Avanti..) Maybe dedicated designs for up to 200 seats up to 2 hours/ 600NM will steal business when oil prices go real high. (ECR-20 concept)

  11. The “757R” will be more than a gap filler between the 737 MAX 9 and the 757-200. The domestic seating capacities of these two aircraft are close. The 757R will need to target the seating capacity of the 757-300 and a range performance greater than the 757-200 (with a high gross weight option with the range performance of a 767-300ER) as a starting point, with the potential to stretch to a 767-300 seat capacity.

    There is no real replacement for the TATL 767-300ER. The answer is either less frequent flights with an A330 or a connecting flight.

    • Mark the fastest growing aviation market is going to be SE Asia. Just think of a plane that is just as capable of flying Singapore – Brisbane / Tokyo / Shenyang / Bangalore as it is flying Singapore – Jakarta.
      The NSA would have been the perect plane for the pan Asian carriers. I think this new NAS study hopefully give them what they want, and for the mean time hult the success of the NEO.

  12. If Boeing build a single aisle or a double aisle, they can design a new freight container. Otherwise they end up going too big with by copying the A330 section. I think even the 767 section is too big as it has a deep cargo compartment. The A320 and the 737 have captured the market for 4 and 5 hour flights. An aircraft that is 50% bigger is the right size to capture the 6 to 8 hour flight market. A 767 or an A330 copy is too big. What would the ideal aircraft be for Icelandair, Alaska, or JetBlue?

    • With maturing CFRP use/production I wonder if we won’t see some more non-circular shapes as well.

    • Yes first saw these about 5 yrs ago. Also the full composites tail section. Obviously they weren’t valuable enough to introduce on the NEO

    • Three years ago some people apparently thought you could just “scale down” the usage of CFRP from a WB to a single aisle aircraft, and “in doing so, Boeing could potentially revolutionize the narrowbody segment once again just as the 787 Dreamliner does and make the A320 NEO as well as the Bombardier CSeries obsolete overnight.”

      Ah some good times back then…… 😉



    • That DLR concept is a classic example for academic nonsense that has been conducted primarily because there was government R&D money up for grabs.
      An aerostructure engineer with only half a brain will immediately grasp from the sketches that the depicted concept would add considerable weight over the dominant solution. Think in terms of hoop stress and bending moments acting on the skin of a non-circular pressure vessel.
      Not to mention what happens to the shampoo in your baggage when subject to a 40,000 ft pressure altitude in a non-pressurized compartment.

      • KDX, what about those hoop stresses on the shuttle orbiter’s crew module? That’s not a circular pressure shell. It’s even got two flat bulkeheads. 😉


        As for the DLR concept, you seem to be oblivious to the fact that there are no “cut-outs” in the pressure vessel. For example, on a conventional tube-and-wing aircraft, the main-landing gear well is located in the area of the greatest bending moments.

        As for the lower-deck cargo compartment, it could conceivably be constructed in such a way as to allow for a pressure setting of say 10,000 – 12,000 feet. The passenger cabin the pressure would be set to 5,000 – 6,000 feet.

        The passenger area is made up of three circular load bearing panels: two side panels and a lower panel. The latter contains seat attachments and floor panels that are additional supporting structures which are stressed by the global loading. The lower panel is approx. twice the radius of the side panels. The length of the panels is the same as that of the passenger area. The frames, stringers, and local reinforcements are integrated into the panels. The supporting construction of the fuselage is therefore a highly integrated unit and contains only two longitudinal and three transversal joints, which leads to a reduction in weight and in cost during the assembly process. From a structural mechanics point of view, this is a supporting construction without large cut-outs and large differences in stiffness.


        1.1 Technological Approaches in Aviation

        Composite materials are used today for different types of components. Present potentials as well as conceptional degrees of freedom as compared with metal have not yet been exhausted in the structures that have been realized up to now. In addition, the use of carbon fiber-reinforced plastics (CFRP) has a promising number of additional advantages compared to similar structures made of metal: a decrease in maintenance due to fatigue, an increase in comfort, greater crash safety, and improved burn-through safety.

        However, these aspects make it necessary to adapt the design concepts which, in contrast to a 1:1 substitution of the aluminum construction, first and foremost have to take into consideration the characteristics of the composite.

        In the long term, a change in the aircraft configuration will become necessary in order to enable additional savings. The “flying wing” that is already being used in military aviation is certainly an option with regard to cost and weight. But this also requires materials that allow for such structures to be produced at an optimal weight and cost. The use of composite technology will therefore play a key role not only here but also in other areas, making it the material of the future.

        2.1 Remark on the reference structure

        The entire fuselage including the cargo compartment of a standard body aircraft is loaded with inner pressure. The supporting pressure-ventilated lower panel contains large cut-outs for the nose gear bay, for different cargo doors and for the landing-gear well, which is located in the area of the greatest bending moments. The big cut-outs greatly disturb the flow of forces that result from the bending stress. In addition, the even frames and panels loaded with inner pressure do not represent an optimal lightweight fuselage construction from a structural mechanics point of view. The constructive designs of the above-mentioned cut-outs (especially those in the pressure-ventilated floor with pendulum and membrane areas) are very complicated and result in high
        manufacturing costs.

        2.2.1 Primary structure (passenger area)

        The passenger area is built with two side shells and a floor structure with circular skins that form a highly-integrated structure (Figure 1). The skin of the floor structure is approximately twice the radius compared to the skins of the side shells. The level of the floor slab runs through the intersection point of the upper and lower circular skins, which is ideal. This floor slab arrangement and the circular shells cause minimal bending loads due to inner pressure. The floor slabs and seat rails of the floor structures are bearing load in the Gondola Concept and, in view of the entire loading, take on the appropriate load level.


      • And remind me. OV, how many pressure cycles was that shuttle designed for……….

      • The objective of such research work is _not_ perfect integration and useability.
        Usually it is about solving one kind of problem thoroughly.

  13. The way I see it, the ideal replacement for 752, 762, A310 would come in 2 sizes,
    the smaller 190-220 seats depending on config and the bigger 220-250. Give or take. Equivalent Still Air Dist range (ESAD) 4000nm. Thats W-Europe to East Coast USA even on a bad day (wintertime) and more in summer. Reasonable cargo capacity, maybe around 5-7000 kgs but the a/c must be kept “lean”. OEW in the region of 65-75t, and MTOW 120-130t tops. The beauty of the 757 is that you fill it up with pax (180), and then fill the tanks as well. Not many aircraft do that. But an engine is not on the horizon, unless the PW GTF purported scaleability becomes reality.

  14. I have to agree with most of what Schorsh, OV-99, and Keesje has to say on this – except that Airbus always does everything better than Boeing  Given the projected growth in air travel a 757/A300/767-200 seat SA sized plane may become a good market. Crowded airports will require larger planes than the current SA’s Also, a lot of people need fly into those A380 hubs!
    Most 757’s were sold to US carriers, but 209 were sold in Europe with BA(50), Condor(30), AWAS(25), and Iberia(24) being the largest carriers. 85 were sold in Asia with China Southern(19) as the largest. The inter-Asia market has largely emerged after the 757 ended production.
    The 757 had the highest thrust/weight ratio of any commercial jet, which made it ideal for high/hot airports and several airlines (Aero Mexico- Mexico City, UA/CAL – Denver, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, etc) operated it mainly for that reason, but that is a small market and that extra power comes at a weight and more importantly cost penalty for everybody else. The 757 ultimately was too expensive to purchase relative to the A321/379. The operating economics were quite good however, and after 9/11 travel downturn many of the US carriers took their 737’s out of service and continued to operate their 757’s.
    I think that ovoid’s will dominate in the future, and to carry side-by-side LD-3’s need more than OV-099’s 5.1 dia – more like a radius near 2.8m (110”). The 787 lower lobe is slightly less, the A330 slightly more. Using a smaller radius puts more dead space below the cargo floor (wet, hard to access space useless for most systems) whereas the side areas can be used for systems runs. Slightly ovoid lower lobe in the horizontal axis would further optimize space utilization, but potentially cause excessive structural penalty. I think the standardization of the LD-3 – cross fleet cargo handling commonality and quick turnarounds (the major flaw of the 767) is too compelling not use on any future airplane, but a single LD-3 width is a very big waste of space in the lower lobe.
    For 7 abreast seating, about 2.5m (100”) is good (767), as is 2.8m (112”) is for 8 abreast (787, A330). Ideally (for passengers) the widest portion of the cabin is between the seat and shoulder of the passenger (again 787 and 350). The A300 5.7m (222”) circle puts the widest part of the fuselage near the floor – perfect for Hobbits. 787, 350 and 777 do better for humans and their carry-on bags. On a smaller diameter the key is to put something like .25m (10”) offset in the upper and lower lobe center points (like the 767 and 787 did). Using 8 abreast makes the 57R too close to the A330 and 787 and 2-2-2 (7J7) arrangement wastes too much non-revenue space in aisles. A 7 abreast TA has the advantage of quicker loading/unloading vs. a SA which is more important on shorter duration flights – being in the last row of a 757-300 is not fun at arrival time. So this leads to something like a +/- 2.6m upper and lower lobe with .3m between centers, pretty close to OV-099’s numbers. Schorsch – L1011 and DC-10/11 diameters are 235” and 237” respectively. The gross weight of 2+2 MLG is pretty much maxed out by the 379/321 so the 57R would have to have a 2+4 MLG with the structural penalty of heavier gear and more dead space of a wheel well vs. 2+2. But I don’t see how it could be avoided to get the larger capacity/range this market would require.
    So, I would go with a 7 abreast double LD-3 ovoid fuselage with perhaps two sizes of wings. The smaller, roughly 1750 sq ft and 125 ft span, for 3500 mi (737/A321) range optimized to keep weight down which is more critical for CAROC relative to fuel burn than longer range planes. I think the larger wing, 3000 ft sq and 160 ft span, for more like 5000-6000 mile range. The 757’s 4400 mile range is perfect for Icelandair, but limits TATL range from US east coast to north/western Europe. 5000-6000 mile range would allow deep penetration into both continents, Europe to south Asia, and US west coast to Eastern Asia. I would also up TC’s weight to more to 110t-170t (250K-375K lbs).
    I don’t see either A or B has a major advantage, but I think B will be forced to do it earlier if the 37-9 sales continue to significantly lag the A321NEO. Also don’t see why the second in will have a big advantage either if it needs a whole new fuselage and wing, and porting over newer 787or A350 systems makes more sense than re-use of 320/737 ones. But regardless as Schorsh points out, this will be a challenging plane to design to keep the economics right for a large enough market to justify the development expense. All the more reason to think things through carefully before jumping…

    • Yes, I think you are right that the sweet spot in general is about 140t. Between the A321 at 100t and the A330lite at 200t. Maybe a little lighter for a single aisle. I see the optimal single aisle as a 50m x 50m aircraft. Airbus can use the A320 fuse, Boeing might want to go a few inches wider.

  15. @gt62, thanks for your discussion. I still think that LD3 capability is too much to ask for. Only few routes of such aircraft will have meaningful cargo demand. If the seating is 7-abreast@17.7inch seatback width (results roughly in 5% larger than B7J7 dimensions), and capacity aimed at 240 seats, the resulting lower deck volume is already very good. A 260 seat single aisle (roughly equivalend to the B757-300) has .29cbm per Pax seat cargo volume. A 7-abreast with LD3-46 would have only .23, and an 8-abreast would have .44. For reference: Current A321 has about .2 with 190 seats.

    A small twin aisle has inherent disadvantages regarding its fuselage empty weight. In order to compensate this, the aircraft has to be as lean as possible. The B757 had wonderful CASM back then, but the rather stubby wing and huge power (remember: it was intended as B727 replacement, hence good field performance) made it incompetitive against A320-series (the A320 has 20% more aspect ratio and lower wing loading). The fuselage of the B757-300 is – despite its atrocious turnaround characteristics – one of the most efficient when it comes to structural weight per seat.

  16. Agree with Schorsch. It has to be kept lean / mean. Otherwise it gets slaughtered under 200 seats by narrow single aisle long light tubes. On the shorter flights it is hard to beat the door-to-door cargo trucks / networks in terms of speed and costs.

    As I said before to keep a substantial market share in the narrowbody segment you have to build something that is super efficient around 175 seats / 600 NM. Making it compromised above 220 seats/ 3500 NM almost per definition.
    Back in 2007 I expected an “Hypothetical Boeing Embraer 110-165 Seater”
    http://i191.photobucket.com/albums/z160/keesje_pics/LRJ_Boeing_Embraer_Y1_narrow_bod-1.jpg (Graphics: kaktusdigital, Henry)
    covering the lower end of the market and Boeing them selves focussing on 180-250 seats.

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  18. Does all this talk put the 787-3 back on the agenda?

    I think Boeing said in 2010 that it may be re-looked at in the future, and it has to be a cheaper, less risky and quicker option than a complete new design?

    • The B787-3 is still far too heavy, would be a niche design. The only difference was reduced wing span for better airport compability. Boeing admitted once that the B787-3 performed better than the -8 on missions below 150nm.

      Just a quick one: OEW is roughly 105-110t with 330 seats.
      A321 has 50t with 200 seats.

  19. I think the 787-3 / A330R both suffer from Long Haul Obesity. One look at the belly area tells it all. Made for a different mission.

    Airbus / Boeing say the A321/739 can do 90% of the 757 mission. Do the airlines think so too? Also 90% of the A300/310/762 missions?

    I remember Boeing stating the 787-10 could do 90% of the mission the A350-900 can, cheaper and has great cargo capability (volume). A few weeks later Lufthansa says the A350-10 doesn’t have the range for 40% of the intended missions, is cargo unfriendly and skips it. Didn’t they listen? ..

  20. Before Boeing looks at the longer range 737 or shorter 787, they must bring the 737 up to date. The MAX has taken a mauling from the NEO and the disparity is unsustainable. The replacement 737 must add in at least 15cm in fuselage width to match the A320 passenger comfort and must have luggage containers for quicker turnaround. While they are at it, going even wider may even allow a 60cm wide aisle which will greatly improve pax loading / unloading and turnaround. A modern air filter and air compression system for passenger comfort is a given. While it tackles that wish-list, Boeing could also incorporate additional fuel capacity in the new composite wings to get the range to replace the 757. Of course a redesign of the landing gear will enable it to match the engine circumference of the A320 to get more efficiency…
    The message – never mind the 757, the 737 has to be updated.

  21. Quite interesting to go back to read the opinion of analysts at the launch of the NEO.

  22. ” …I still think that LD3 capability is too much to ask for. ” Perhaps, but given how badly the 767 was beat by the A330 due to lack of LD-3 capacity, I doubt (at least B) would repeat that. NW replaced its fleet of DC-10’s with A330’s for Intl (Compatibility with 47’s and cargo is important for them), and 757-300’s for US Domestic. If this is to be a TATL then cargo is more important (no truck competition there).

    Don’t have the specific 767 lower lobe dimensions, but I think the difference is only about .5m to get LD-3’s. “…757 stubby wing” – (125’) Yes, probably for 727 (108’) gates. It was also fuel volume limited, which prevented range growth. “Fuselage structure” – the gauging optimization on the 757 was probably better than any other plane – much more than 37/320, used lots of Ti (for that era) – again expensive. But the wetted area drag with the high length/dia?

    At 175 seats will be very crowded with competition –It has to be a big performance improvement (beyond engines) make sense to spend billions to develop. Is A350/787 generation Aero, Sys, Struct, Integration, enough better than A320 tech to justify?: 87-3/330 definitely too portly. The -3 was a niche for Japanese domestic – now served with 330 pax 87-8. B ceded the 100 seat to the DC-9 – it may have to let the <180 seats go this go around.

    • The B767 started as TransCon aircraft, but really became the big success as trans-ocean “hub avoider”. The most successful model was the -300ER (that number is apparently always good for Boeing ;-)).
      For the intended mission the cargo capacity is secondary. Even transatlantic has plenty of cargo space available (esp as the other aircraft haul around plenty of un-used MTOW capability on a JFK-FRA trip).

      If we assume an A321 at 200 seats (30inch economy as found in Lufthansa’s Neue Europa Kabine), the new aircraft should have at least 240 seats (slightly larger than the B757-200). Growth option to 300. That would give it a two-class capacity of roughly 190-200 seats, comparable to the B767-200.

  23. Going through the shopping list of you Gentlemen, the general consensus centers around LD3-46, for quick turn-around + reasonable airfreight, approx. 200 seats (Y-class + Premium combined), approx. 3 flight hours’ worth of additonal range vs A321 … to me what all this adds up to – being ‘reasonable’ – is the H22QR fitted with three ACT (leaving room for another 10 AKH for belly-freight + CIL, with 600 cuft cabin stowage volume for COL, plus 206 cuft belly-bulk), with boosted NEO @ 40 klbs rating for a nice TO perfo ?

    Such as beast would sweep 90 % of the replacement demand, the remaining 10 % will dilute anyway into addiitional A330/A350 vs 787 demand … leaving near to NIL to fuel ROI-expectations of clean-sheet projectors.

  24. Some time before the MAX was launched but the NEO already became likely, I suggested a more radical 737 upgrade. However Boeing was totally focussed on the 787/ NSA. Looking back maybe they should have considered it. I guess orders / margins would have been better then the MAX, and defections / pressure to come up with an NSA would be less. Bigger engines and a new front office were part of it.


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  26. Could a 757 (or 767-200, etc.) replacement have a 2-2-2 config? Is that doable from a fuel consumption standpoint in a standard barrel fuselage? If so, it seems that plane would be optimized more for the 200-250 seat <4,500 mi market. If not, your stuck with the same old 3-3 configuration used today. Why not just stretch each model one more time and put a bigger wing on it? Not sure you would get a great fuel benefit from a clean-sheet redesign, even if it had a composite barrel. Don't think you can go 2-3-2 for a 757 replacement as this puts you in 767-200 territory and that plane is still too big, being closer to a 757-300 in capacity than a 757-200. And I don't think you can make a 2-3-2 fuselage much shorter than a 767-200…thing is already really stubby. Just my initial thoughts…

    • For those who like advanced reading, there was a research conducted into exactly that question. Click this:
      The 2-2-2 is too heavy, only the 2-3-2 is economically viable. Capacities below 240 seats are severely handicapped. There is a “gap” between ~220 and ~260 seats single class (31inch Eco, A321=200 seats) where neither single nor twin aisle do really great.
      The 2-3-2 twin aisle researched was a very lean design, hence cross section using LD3-46 ULD and no 2-4-2 capability like the B767 (results in a <5m cross section).
      The 2-4-2 is far out.

      • @Schorsch thanks for the reply. I couldn’t access the article you pasted but that makes sense. I think 2-2-2 is out of the question unless we are talking a radical new (blended wing) design. That layout would allow you to cover 170-225 passengers pretty effectively with 3 models if it could be done but the economics just won’t work. So you are left with 2-3-2, which I still think is too wide to cover the 5,500) market in the 150-200 seat class. The 787-8 has opened up alot of new city pairs with its economics. Could you go even lower on the size and attract a substantial base of customers? Is the 787-8 still too big for some long/thin routes? I have no clue just wondering.

    • The Boeing Fattie [2+3+2] and Janne Carlzon’s 7J7 [2+2+2] have both severe penalties in terms of COL limitations. Extra carry-on have double benefits : quicker (passenger !) airport turn-arounds (= walk-in/walk-out) plus shifts from CIL to COL boosting underbelly freight capability. The pressure to Install larger carry-on bins on main deck command Y-class triples or premium twins underneath; Y-class twin seats are not wide enough to permit installation of large overhead stowages above them. Therefore the [2+2+2] wiith Y-class seats was a dead-born utopia. The preferred layout is [1+4+1] ie the staggered C919, or – hic et nunc, realistically – [1+3+1] ie H2XQR or H3XQR.

      • Overhead stowage used to be called a “hat rack” 😉

        I don’t think putting more and more mass overhead is an improvement in crash worthiness.
        ( Didn’t I read about investigations into detached overhead bins recently ?)

  27. If we accept the motto “it takes a 757 to replace a 757” (paraphrasing John Leahy), a good kick in the anthill would be to call all the world’s 757 home for a facelift to H5XQR Series … this would extend those excellent aircraft’s useful commercial lives, whilst boosting residual values ? Isn’t the current waiting time for a MAX or a NEO apprx. 2020 ? Mayhaps is there a powerplant candidate somewhere to offer H52QR MAX or H53QR MAX on top (if the game is worth the while ?), to spice up the dish … a better fate for the senior 757s than classical P2F postlife conversions ?

  28. I’ve seen somewhere that the OWE of a 757-200 RB211 = apprx. 58 m.tonnes … slim this OWE down by some 4 m.tonnes to 54 m.tonnes going HQR vs [3+3] in the cabin and (eg) GTF vs RB211 on the wing, then bring the certified MTOW down (administrative paperwork) to – say – 104 m.tonnes, plus let’s give the GTF a nice setting boost of – say – 3,500 lbf (?) vs A321/739 : subject to confirmation from Boeing’s number-crunchers + from the concerned engine OEM, we’d get a thousand units of revamped, revitalised, nicely performing feeder aircraft (given the 757’s high-lift wing !) with a capacity in the 190 – 240 pax bracket and with a [Payload + Fuel] capability of apprx. 50 m.tonnes, with a range 22 % better (!) than 757-200/RB211 for a same mission fuel, with much quicker airport ground rotations (!!) and greater pax-appeal vs A321/739 (!!!), available for EIS from 2017/18 … summarized : H5XQR MAX Series, a family of 24h yield-spinning feeders and ROIC Winners.

    • Honestly, your proposals keep a robust safety distance to reality.
      Your numbers are all rubbish.

  29. OK, Schorch : let’s see your own more accurate numbers, if the question being raised here technically is the feasibility of a 757-200 MAX re-engining, with weights down-rated for feeder applications on currently typical A321 CEO or 739 NG routes ? The rest – relative to the cabin – is, as a start, unimportant ?

  30. First: re-engining an existing aircraft is tough. Done on B707 and DC8 (all military and cargo). And never again. I would rate the feasibility somewhere between 10-30%.
    Second: B757 has bad high lift devices, rather loud, narrow cabin. Bad choice as start. It was discontinued for a reason.

    OEW and cabin weights, so stuff that is central in your ideas: triple seats compared to single seats? The actual weight advantage of 3+3 layout compared to a 1+3+1 is about 0-5kg per row. The GTF is heavier for same rated thrust than the RB211/PW2000. So there will be no weight saving at all.

    For your feeder operations the exceedance of ICAO III wing span will make airports unhappy. Any A321/B739 will achieve better cost per seat.

    You can achieve quick ground rotations by simple reducing the load factor of a normal single aisle. There is no need to re-design the cabin. Studies show that the gain above that is minimal, and has no considerable effect on actual DOC.

    The act of writing such a thin idea on a public platform makes me suspicious how well your ideas are backed up by any reliable engineering analysis.

  31. Thanks for your appraisal, Schorch … personally I think the 757 production was discontinued due to the infamed “757 syndrome”, a string of in-flight service and ground rotation inefficiencies, amounting to a lack of pax-appeal. Operators are still making money with their 757s, though (eg Delta have some 160 units) … the question raised here is whether there could be a better end-of-life strategy for these excellent work-horses than being waisted for P2F conversions ? Talking about tough engine conversions, one that strikes my mind is the 737 Series NG-to-MAX conversion. But that’s “ON”, isn’t it ? You are telling me that the total structural weight (engines + nacelles + pylons + avionics for command and control) for the future GTF is no better than for the ancient familiar and faithful RB211, at comparable thrust settings ? Wow, that’s a feather in the hat for Rolls Royce : I’m really amazed !

    • Recommend to check A320NEO weights. It gets heavier. Engine and pylon cited. As I said: engineering basics, larger bypass reduces thrust/weight ratio of engines (for similar technology). The GTF is at best the same as CFM56 and comparable.

      The MAX and NEO are re-designed aircraft. No ones talks about the funny idea of changing the engine of a produced aircraft. Airbus cannot even retrofit the blended wingtip.

      • Airbus cannot even retrofit the blended wingtip.

        Airbus launches Sharklet retrofit for in-service A320 Family aircraft

        Cuts fuel burn by up to 4%, lengthens in-service life

        Airbus has launched the Sharklet retrofit programme for in-service A320 Family aircraft. This option will be available in 2015. Operators of older in-service A320 Family aircraft will thus be able to benefit from the significant cost savings and performance improvements which the Sharklets are already delivering on new-build aircraft.

      • Firstly, here we’re talking about Boeing (not Airbus) doing a MAX retrofit to near one thousand 757-200, a stone in Airbus’ flowerbed, Airbus would lose out its position as the Leader in the upper end of the NEO market (A321 NEO newbuilds, @ 115 M$/unit list price) to the venerable 757, re-clad into a new costume @ ridiculously low initial investment : what a laugh + beer party for the old boys in Chicago ! Secondly, if on, H5XQR Series would mean near 2,000 additional GTF (or LEAP) powerplants sold and delivered by (some) engine OEM … enough to immediately and irreversibly take up the enviable and strategic position as Front Runner in the GTF vs LEAP engine market ! Thirdly, with no impeachment or hinderance to go for the best BPR, the high 757 wing permitting excellent ground clearances, the lucky engine OEM would go for the largest possible fan diameter, giving the advantage to Boeing in this field, where so far with the 737 MAX they are at a disadvantage. I see some reasons to think the H5XQR MAX wouldn’t be that foolhardy : just for the kicks !

  32. Btw, for operators such as Delta etc flying 757s, apparently the airport dislike (quoting yourself) for this unwelcome because wide-spanned type is largely overcome. I’m convinced that the same airports would greatly appreciate H5XQR rotations (in under 25 minutes ?) even better, as it would mean better slot availability, ie more Business for the Airport Operator, specially if the operator of the revamped aircraft is the same Delta Airlines ?

    • Obviously, thie project’d be a head-ache to Boeing, on top of/at the same time as a number of other pressing issues. But if three major 757 Operators, sided by an engine OEM, knocked on McNerney’s door offering to foot the bill between them and explaining the kicks that’s in it for those old boys in Chicago, I’d guess they could possibly reconsider ? But OK, let’s leave the topic as “improbable” time being … btw, when/by whom was said “proposal to reengine the 757” presented ?

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