Boeing chief executive Jim McNerney confirms a replacement for the long-haul 757-200 market segment is being studied internally, adding potentially a new layer to the 737 Max concept.

The 757-200 ceased production in 2004, and was replaced on domestic routes largely by either the 737-900ER or the Airbus A321.

But US carriers have also introduced the 757-200 on long-haul routes, flying between East Coast cities and Europe and West Coast cities and Hawaii.

That has created a potential gap in the market, with US Airways complaining that the A321neo will lack the range to reach Europe from its Philadelphia hub and perhaps even Honolulu from its Phoenix hub.

"I think we're trying to think through exactly how to fill that market," McNerney told analysts on 25 April during a first quarter earnings call.

"The largest part of that [757-200 replacement] segment is going to be filled by the larger versions of the narrowbody [737 Max]," he says. "But there's some product planning we have yet to do, and we'll announce that in due course."

The remarks echo McNerney's statement about a 757 replacement last May. Speaking to analysts at last year's Boeing "investor day", McNerney explained the company's focus was on replacing the "heart" of the narrowbody market formed by the 737-700 and -800.

At the time, Boeing was still considering an all-new narrowbody, and McNerney suggested it could stretch that aircraft for the 757 replacement market or develop a shortened version of the 787.

Though Boeing resisted the re-engined 737 concept for several years, the airframer has tallied more than 300 firm orders for the CFM Internatinal Leap-1B 737 Max since launching the programme late last year.

McNerney re-affirmed that Boeing remains on schedule to complete firm configuration of the 737 Max series in 2013.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news