Aug. 19. 2015, © Leeham Co. Boeing sees a “healthy” future for the 767 commercial line, but won’t comment whether this includes an effort to rekindle interest for
passenger airlines, or if the future is strictly for cargo carriers.
It was almost a throw-away question and answer at last week’s Jefferies Co. Global Industrial Conference at which Greg Smith, the CFO of The Boeing Co., appeared. Howard Rubel, the aerospace analyst for Jefferies, asked, “All of a sudden we’ve seen orders for 767s. It’s a 4,000 mile aircraft that is easy to operate and easy to fit into the fleet.” Could there be more orders? he asked. The question was obviously prompted by the July order by FedEx for 50 firm and 50 optioned 767-300ERFs. The 767-300ER’s capacity and range fits in the general description of the so-called Middle of the Market aircraft being explored by Boeing.
“There are opportunities,” Smith replied. “I think we will continue to see a healthy product line. At the same time we are still looking for opportunities to make the airplane more efficient in the operating cost perspective.”
That was it.
This raised more questions than the one that was answered:
We posed these questions to “Chicago” (where Smith is located), which were rerouted to Seattle, where Boeing Commercial Airplanes is headquartered.
“Campaigns are ongoing,” a spokesman emailed in answer to the first question. “We don’t share discussions with potential customers.” The spokesman declined to specify whether the campaigns include passenger models.
“We are continuing to explore additional capabilities and improvements,” he said. “Earlier this year, we introduced an engine performance improvement package that will provide an additional 0.5% fuel efficiency improvement. The PIP could save an additional 286 lbs of fuel on a typical 2,000nm flight,” based on generic 767 rules/assumptions, not specific to any operator.
As for the prospect of the 767 being updated and revitalized to become the much-talked about Middle of the Market aircraft, an idea that surfaces from time-to-time, the spokesman was clear:
“No, this is not something we are exploring. We continue to study the Middle of the Market segment to identify product alternatives that are right for our customers and right for Boeing.”