MIAMI — Boeing is not currently considering a 757 replacement or re-engine, according to Randy Tinseth, the company’s vice president of marketing. The remarks were made during a market outlook presentation at the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance Conference on February 11.
“We’re not studying a 757 re-engining replacement right now,” said Tinseth. He went further, adding that the company does not have the ability to resurrect the original, nor has it validated a market case for recreating something new to fill the gap. The remarks confirmed a report by the Wall Street Journal that came out earlier this week on the matter.
The company has been under pressure to create a workable replacement for the venerable 230-seat narrowbody airliner, particularly as arch-rival Airbus extends both the capacity and range of its A321neo into the jet’s territory.
But the numbers from recent studies just don’t add up to justify the cost of development, said Tinseth. Boeing believes that most of the existing 757 replacement market is already occupied by either the company’s own 737 MAX 9 or Airbus’ A321neoLR (long range). That leaves only 50-80 airplanes, in Boeing’s estimation, that run the long and thin or hot and high routes that the 757 became renowned for. That number is apparently insufficient to close the business case.
That does not mean the book is closed on the issue for good, however. Tinseth said customers have indicated that they’re seeking an airplane “that is bigger than today’s 757 and flies 20 percent further. We’re trying to figure out what that means; what that airplane would look like.” He added that they have until “2021 or 2022” to figure that out.
His analysis contrasted with that of veteran Teal Group analyst Richard Aboulafia, who suggested earlier that same morning that a renewed 757 was one of Boeing’s most viable options to maintain parity in the narrowbody sector. Tinseth dismissed the prediction, which placed Airbus capturing as much as 60 percent of the single-aisle market through 2024.
The discussion came during a wider conversation on Boeing’s 20-year market outlook. The company estimates nearly 37,000 airplanes will be needed through 2034 at a value of $5.2 trillion.
Single-aisle sales will lead the charge, accounting for 25,700 of the needed frames. While much is made of Airbus single-aisle A320neo family outselling the 737MAX by a wide margin, Tinseth said that the market is still wide open: “70 percent of the 737NG customer base has yet to make a decision on single aisle replacement,” he said.
Widebodies will total 8,600, though the market for very large aircraft such as the company’s 747-8, stands at only 2 percent of the total at 620 frames.
North America is expected to figure prominently among the thousands of planes needed, spurred on by the need to replace existing fleets. South East Asia was also expected to a big region, unsurprisingly, due in large part to substantial increases in passenger traffic.
Tinseth also played down concerns over the anticipated 777 classic to 777X gap, stating that the company sold 63 jets in 2014 and intends to repeat the performance in 2015. The company has said in the past that it needs to book 60-some airplanes per year to maintain current production levels.