Being the first plane to deploy twin engines as a wider body structure that had room for more passengers in long haul flights, Boeing (NYSE:BA) 767 set itself as the most popular modern plane in 1980s. Prior to Boeing (NYSE:BA), three or four engine planes were deployed for trans-ocean travel. However, after FAA approved deployment of twinjet engines for two hours trans-ocean flight, the 767 became the most prolific flight on the long haul routes.
However, after it remained a leader in this market for 32 years, it is currently finding it hard to sell its passenger plane versions.
Boeing (NYSE:BA) launched its first wide body 747 in the late 60s and was welcomed with open arms as it helped transform the long flights experience. The 1970s brought with it, the idea of manipulating the wide-body plane design, which popularized this market. Henceforth, Boeing (NYSE:BA) went ahead with the idea of designing the next generation of wider planes.
Aging planes, stricter environmental laws, increasing fuel costs, and escalating demand for efficient planes triggered the idea of manufacturing a wider body plane for the market. The resultant 767 is wider than single aisle 757, but smaller than 777. Another altered feature was its use of high powered turbofan twin engines as opposed to 747 that had quad lateral engines. The Boeing (NYSE:BA) 767 was officially advertised in 1978, and entered its first service in August 1982 on a flight for United Airlines.
In 1994, Air Bus (NASDAQ:EADSY) launched its twin engine A330 into the market. This caused significant dwindling in the 767 sales. Boeing (NYSE:BA) launched its 787 as a replacement to 767, to compete against the A330. However, Boeing (NYSE:BA) has only managed to deliver 145 767s in the past decade.
The Boeing (NYSE:BA) 767 has a current backlog of 1,100 unites. The 300ER, top selling 767 model, saw a dry up of its backlog after delivering a meagre 583 planes to Air Astana. Boeing (NYSE:BA) is contracted to deliver 45 of its 767-300Fs to FedEx (NYSE:FDX) and another four of 767-2Cs to the US Air Force.
The current scenario of the airplane market has triggered the question whether Boeing (NYSE:BA) will bring any variation to its 767 version to regenerate interest in the airplane. One reason for the avoidance of any up gradation is a potential clash of design ideas. There isn’t much of a difference between the 767-300ER and 787-8. The 300ER is 180 feet long with a maximum 5,990 nautical miles range, whereas 787-8 186 feet long and offers a range of 7,850 nautical miles. The 787-8 is steeper in terms of price, and costs $218.3 million, as opposed to $191.5 million for a 300ER. However, the former offers more value for the costs and seats 242 passengers, as compared to 214 with 300ER.
The future looks bleaker for Boeing (NYSE:BA), as Airbus (NASDAQ:EADSY) has planned up gradation of its A330. However, Boeing (NYSE:BA) has hopes tied to the commercial and military variations of its 767 design.