The Boeing 767 and Boeing 757 were developed concurrently and embarked on their first commercial flights in 1982 and 1983 respectively.
Both the 757 and commercial aircraft versions of the 767 are no longer in production, having been succeeded by new aircraft such as the Boeing 787. While both still feature in significant numbers in airline fleets, many airlines are starting to retire older versions of these aircraft.
In this article, I’ll compare these two Boeing counterparts from a number of different perspectives, just as we have done before with different aircraft pairings like the 757 and 787.
The 757 and 767 were developed by Boeing in tandem and both featured new “glass” cockpit designs. The 767 was the first Boeing wide-body aircraft to be designed for a two-person flight crew.
Both aircraft first flew commercially around 40 years ago. The 757 and the commercial versions of the 767 are no longer in production, with the last 757 rolling out in 2005, and the last commercial 767 in 2014. Since 2014 all B767 production has been for the freighter and tanker versions of this aircraft, with FedEx being the major customer.
The 757 was produced in two main variants – the 757-200 and the 757-300. The 757-200 was later developed into freighter and convertible models.
Significant customers for the 757 included major US airlines, European charter airlines, and cargo companies. The 757 is well suited to short- and mid-range services and transcontinental US routes. In 1986, the 757 was approved to fly ETOPS (Extended-range Twin-engine Operations Performance Standards) operations allowing it to operate on intercontinental routes.
The 757 variants are listed below:
|Aircraft Model||Type||First In Service|
The 767 was designed to replace the market occupied by aircraft such as the aging Boeing 707, Douglas DC-8, Lockheed L1011 Tristar, and the McDonnell Douglas DC-10. The 767 family includes five passenger models, and the 767 Freighter which is based on the 767-300ER fuselage.
In 1985 the 767 was ETOPS certified, making it the first commercial twinjet to fly regular routes across the Atlantic Ocean, one year before the 757.
|Aircraft Model||Type||Entry into Service|
There’s also a military tanker version of the 767, based on the 767-200ER, named the KC-46A.
Boeing’s studies for a higher-capacity 767 in the late 1980s led to the development of the larger 777 twinjet that was brought into service in 1995.
The 757 and 767 were the first pair of Boeing aircraft to have almost identical two-crew cockpit designs. This allows a common pilot type rating for these two aircraft increasing resourcing flexibility for airlines.
Let’s take a look at some key physical characteristics and see how the passenger versions of these two aircraft measure up against each other.
|Aircraft Model||Length/ m||Wingspan/ m||Fuselage Width/ m||MTOW/ kg|
As you would expect, the wide-body 767 is bigger, wider, and heavier in all respects compared to its narrow-body 757 counterpart, except the 757-300 is longer than the 767-200.
The 757 and the standard 767 models have similar ranges varying between 6,300km and 7,200km. As you would expect the 767 extended range models have much longer ranges varying between 10,400km and 12,200km.
Whilst the 757 and 767 were originally targeted at hub and point-to-point carriers operating short- to mid-range transcontinental routes, their later ETOPS certifications allowed these aircraft to operate intercontinental routes, including transatlantic routes, boosting sales.
The 757 and 767 families typically carry anywhere between around 200 and 300 passengers in typical 2-class cabin configurations and have exit limits of between 239 and 375 passengers.
However, these numbers are for comparison purposes only, as in practice airlines will fit out their aircraft in many different seating configurations, and actual seat numbers can vary significantly between different variants, even within the same airline.
In practice, we see a huge variety around these numbers as airlines have fitted out these aircraft in 1-class, 2-class, 3-class, and even 4-class configurations.
For each aircraft, I’ve looked at how a variety of different airlines have configured their cabins.
For the 757 I looked at Azur Air, Condor, Delta Airlines, Icelandair, and Jet2. Typical seat numbers are set out in the table below:
|757-200||235 – 238||183||142 – 199|
|757-300||–||225 – 262||234|
You can see that seating numbers vary significantly even for the same aircraft with the same number of cabins. This is because different airlines dedicate different amounts of the cabin to premium travellers and not all premium cabins are equipped with flatbed seats.
Let’s look at some different airline examples of 767-200 and -300 seat numbers for two-class cabin configurations:
|Japan Airlines||767-300/ER V1||42||219||261|
|Japan Airlines||767-300ER V2||24||175||199|
|Japan Airlines||767-300ER V4||30||197||227|
|Omni Air Intl||B767-200/ER V2||18||195||213|
|Omni Air Intl||B767-200ER V1||20||198||218|
We can use a single airline example here to indicate the variety of three-class 767 seating configurations. Delta Airlines has no less than eleven different 767 seating plans:
|Version||First or Business||Premium Economy||Economy||Total|
|767-300 V1 and 767-300 V2||26||18||172||216|
|767-300 V3 and 767-300ER V1||36||32||143||211|
|767-300 V4 and 767-300ER V2||26||35||165||226|
|767-400 V1 and 767-400ER V1||40||28||178||246|
|767-400 V2 and 767-400ER V2||34||20||184||238|
Delta Airlines also operates a 4-class B767-300ER with 26 first class seats, 18 business class seats, 21 premium economy seats, and 151 economy class seats (total 216 seats).
Customers and Orders
Boeing received 1,050 orders in total for the 757. The majority of these (87%) were for the 757-200. Airline customers that ordered the 757 were spread worldwide. That said, it was the large USA carriers that placed the biggest orders as the 757 offers flexibility to operate on USA domestic routes and, following its ETOPS certification, is also able to fly on transatlantic and other inter-continental services.
Of the B757 aircraft remaining in service today, Delta and American Airlines are by far the largest operators.
The 767 has received around 1,346 orders in total, including 100 for the freighter and tanker 767 versions. The most popular aircraft in the 767 family is the 767-300ER which accounts for 43% of all 767 orders, or 60% of all commercial jet 767 orders.
Boeing dropped the 767-400ER and the 767-200ER from its pricing list in 2014.
Current operators of the 767 include Air Astana, ANA, Austrian Airlines, Delta Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, Icelandair, JAL, LATAM Airlines, and United Airlines.
If we look at how the 757 and 767 have performed in terms of annual orders, we see that the B767 has been more popular than the 757, but over a longer production period.
The 767’s most successful year for orders was 1989, the same year that it was certified for 180-minute ETOPS, an extension of the 120-minute certification. During the early 1990s the 767 was the most commonly operated airliner on transatlantic flights between the USA and Europe.
Finally, let’s see how these two aircraft compare in terms of the all-important cabin design.
The 757 interior allows cabin configurations of up to six seats per row in economy class with a single central aisle. Where business class is fitted, the seating configuration is typically 2-2. From 1998, the new 757-300 interior provided sculptured ceiling panels, indirect lighting, and large overhead bins. The 757-300 enhanced interior later became an option on all new 757-200 aircraft.
The twin-aisle 767 typically has seven or eight seats abreast in economy class (2-3-2, 2-4-2), six or seven seats abreast in premium economy class (2-2-2, 2-3-2), and four to six seats abreast in business class (1–2–1, 2-1-2, 2-2-2).
In economy class, seven seats abreast (2-3-2) is the most common layout and this layout places approximately 87% of all seats at a window or aisle meaning that each passenger is no more than one seat from the aisle.
The 767 interior saw the introduction of larger overhead compartments and a higher ratio of toilets per passenger compared to other aircraft. The “Boeing Signature Interior,” launched in 2000 was a feature of the 767-400ER, and this provided even more sizable overhead compartments, sculpted panels, and indirect lighting.
The 767-400ER also has larger windows compared to other versions of the 767.
Boeing 757 vs. 767: Summary
The 757 and 767 are true Boeing counterparts. They were jointly designed and share some of the same design features. They also entered service at roughly the same time. And then later, both benefited from ETOPS certification allowing airlines to deploy these twinjets on intercontinental routes not previously possible.
Despite these similarities, these two aircraft are quite different physically. Generally speaking, the narrowbody 757 is smaller than the widebody 767, but the 757 and the standard versions of the 767 have similar ranges.
The 767 had a longer production period than the 757, partly a reflection of continued delays in the production of the 787. Overall, the 767 has received more orders than the 757, even when the freight and military versions of the 767 are taken out of the equation.