Icelandair use 757s to connect their hub in Reykjavik to European and North American destinations – Photo: Mal Muir | AirlineReporter
What has been the mosttalked about aircraft as of late in aviation circles? I would have to say it is the Boeing 757 — an aircraft that seems irreplaceable. This aircraft is beloved by some, hated by others, and yet so many people have flown them, no matter where you are from (unless you are Australian, then it’s going to be rare). I can remember the first time I saw a 757 (Royal New Zealand Air Force at Avalon Airshow); I can also remember my first flight on a 757 (United P.S from JFK to LAX). I’ve got so many wonderful memories of the 757 that I wanted to take a little trip down memory lane and bring you all along with me.
One of Allegiant Air’s Boeing 757s (N902NV) while still in Everett, WA – Photo: David Parker Brown
The Boeing 757 was the last clean-sheet narrow-body aircraft to come out of the Seattle area. The aircraft was produced in Renton and, much like myself, the 757 was an 80’s baby. Rolled out on January 13, 1982, it took flight just over a month later on February 19th. Deliveries of the 757-200 began in December 1982, less than a year after roll-out, with the launch customer being Eastern Air Lines for North America (since dissolved and now reappeared) and British Airways for Europe. The aircraft was last delivered in 2004, after over 22 years of production. The final aircraft was delivered to Shanghai Airlines, giving the 757 family a total of 1,050 of the type.
Boeing is planning to go with a dual feather design that they are calling the “Advanced Technology” winglet (more on the name later). They are expecting the new winglet will save an additional 1.5% fuel burn versus the one currently on the 737.
737 MAX winglet video from Boeing
“The Advanced Technology winglet demonstrates Boeing’s continued drive to improve fuel burn and the corresponding value to the customer. With this technology and others being built into the MAX, we will extend our leadership,” said Jim Albaugh, president and CEO, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
Boeing states in their press release, that the 737 MAX will provide an 18% fuel burn advantage over the current Airbus A320. Unfortunately, they fail to compare the MAX to the new Airbus A320neo.
According to Airbus, the A320neo will have a 15% better fuel burn advantage over the current A320, so it appears the 737 MAX and A320neo will most likely be quite competitive to one another. I expect that these numbers, for both aircraft, will continue to change during development, so don’t get attached to them. It is safe to say that the 737 and A320 will continue to be direct competitors.
The Boeing 737 MAX 7, 8 and 9 showing off the winglets selected. Image from Boeing.
I am all for improving the 737 and I love following the changes, but I have to say that I am not too happy with the names that Boeing is coming up with. Although the MAX name has grown on me a bit since when I first heard about it (I was really not a fan), can’t Boeing come up with a better (and cooler) name than “Advanced Technology winglet?” I almost fell asleep just typing out that name.
Airbus has already stated that they are putting new winglets on the A320s and are calling them “sharklets.” That is a great name.
Yes, I know an airline is not going to choose the A320neo vs the 737 MAX based on the names (at least they better not), but the 737 and its new winglet are products that are deserving of creative names. Boeing has a history of coming up with classic names (Stratocruiser, Clipper, Dreamliner, etc). I just don’t see “MAX” and “Advanced Technology winglet” going down in the history books quite in the same way.