Boeing seems less and less likely to embark on the 797-X despite the fact several airlines have said they really want it to go ahead. Couple that to the rapidly expiring 787 production – it has only to the end of 2022 and they’ll all be delivered at the current rate (a rate essential to maintain Boeing’s cash flow without the 737 deliveries), it’s now come up with what amounts to a zombie project idea.
The 767 passenger versions, first introduced in the early 1980’s, have long been out of production, but it has continued as a freighter and – even though the USAF may be regretting it, as an inflight refuelling tanker.
Two years ago Boeing toyed with the idea of bringing the passenger version back, and then back-tracked. Now it’s thinking it might just do it again, but make enough changes that its far more attractive – for one add an engine that won’t need much development: the GeNex from the 787. Tweak the wings a bit, raise the landing gear to get them underneath and away we go.
At the very least they’re looking at it as a freighter, but with the 797 a massive and expensive drain on resources if it goes ahead, with an unlikely in-service date prior to 2026, delays to the 777-8/9, and the Max saga showing no signs of ending after a year, huge payouts and complex legal issues to deal with, it needs a quick and easy win.
And it has to be said – wasn’t that exactly what the 737MAX was supposed to be? Modify an existing platform – should be an easy way out right?
So is a 767NG-X (I know right, but I just had to, I mean who would use MAX again?) a viable option?
The production line is there, although it would need to be refurbished to cope with passenger versions. The supply chain is there for much of the aircraft – freight orders are still in the hundreds.
But would it do as a 757-200 replacement. Is a 767-200NG viable? The 767 has fans – Delta has just spent a fortune updating its 767-400’s and has every intention of flying its fleet to the point of exhaustion.
For some airline it may not seem such a terribly bad idea and it’ll be cheaper than a 797-X and available far sooner.
There’s only so many times you can bring back – or even suggest you bring back the 767 from the dead. Let’s see where it goes this time.
Should Boeing bring it back?