MIAMI — Boeing has finally withdrawn the 767-200ER and the 767-400ER from its product offering, as per the latest aircraft pricing table update from Boeing earlier this week. The aircraft can no longer be ordered by airlines, though if an airline places a large enough order, Boeing would still be able to build the 767-200ER or the 767-400ER for them.
The second variant in the 767 family, the 767-200ER was launched in 1982, less than a year after its shorter range cousin, the 767-200 entered service with United Airlines. The first order was placed by Ethiopian Airlines, for two frames, on December 16th, 1982.
The type entered service with El Al Israel Airlines in 1984. Over its production life-cycle, 121 767-200ERs were ordered and delivered to 31 different customers, including the Japanese and Italian air forces. The last order for the type occurred in June 2005 (the Japanese air force), while the last airline to order the 767-200ER was Kazakhstan Airlines in December 2000, with an order for one frame. American Airlines was the largest single operator of the 767-200ER, with a peak sub-fleet of 17 frames.
American still has 12 767-200ERs in its fleet, which it uses on premium trans-continental routes from New York to Los Angeles/San Francisco. However, these aircraft will be soon retired, leaving US Airways as the largest operator of the 767-200ER with 10 aircraft in its fleet. US Airways’ 767-200ERs are not scheduled to be fully retired until 2017. A full list of 767-200ER orders can be seen in the table below (click for a larger view).
Meanwhile, the 767-400ER was much more of an oddball aircraft. Initially designed as a replacement for the shorter haul Douglas DC-10 and Lockheed L1011 tri-jets, the type was launched with orders for 37 aircraft split between Delta Air Lines (21 frames) and Continental Airlines (16 frames). The type was intended to compete against rival Airbus’ A330-200, which entered service in 1998, but has failed to do so. The A330-200 has won 577 orders since its entry into service (EIS), while the 767-400ER only won those 37 orders back in 1997 (though one test-bed aircraft was later sold as a VIP transport).
Despite the elimination of two variants from its offering, the 767 program is far from dead at Boeing. As recently as three years ago, the 767 family looked to be in its dying moments. Orders had slowed to a trickle (mostly top-up orders for the 767-300ER from carriers looking for interim lift in the wake of 767 delays), and like its cousin the 757 (which had been launched at the same point in the early 1980s), the 767 production line(s) appeared destined for conversion and retooling for the 737. But in February of 2011, Boeing won a contract from the US Department of Defense for 179 KC-46A tankers (replacing 179 of 416 KC-135 tankers), a product based on the 767-200ER, for use in aerial refueling by the United States Air Force (USAF).
The deal, worth more than $35 billion, breathed new life into the 767 program. In the time since the tanker contract was awarded to Boeing, 64 767s have been sold, primarily 46 767-300Fs to FedEx.
These sales have occurred primarily because Boeing needs to keep the production line of the 767 open until the first 18 KC-46As are delivered to the USAF from 2017 onwards. Boeing is also looking into exporting KC-46As to other nations to help fill in the production gaps. Interestingly, Boeing is also offering a commercial (cargo) version of the KC-46A called the 767-2CFX, which is about 6 feet longer than the 767-200ER.
Even as the 767-200ER and the 767-400ER were dropped in the latest pricing update, the 767-2CFX was added to the list, though no specific details have yet been released for the type (including price). There are currently four orders for the 767-2CFX.