German charter airline Condor Flugdienst is studying a longer-range version of the Boeing 757 as well as the recently launched 767-400 as part of a long- term strategy to introduce extended range and higher payload aircraft into its fleet.

Condor, which was the first customer for the stretched 757-300 with an order for 12 aircraft in 1996, says that its studies of a proposed longer-range 757 are a fall-out of its "decision to stay with the aircraft", says airline managing director, Dr Dietmar Kirchner. He says: "We are here discussing a 757-200 with more range as well as the 767-400."

The extended-range 757-200, known to Boeing alternatively as the -200ERX or simply as the -200X, would have a payload roughly equal to that of the 707-320, says Kirchner. "We would love to do more non-stops with the 757 and this could be the way," he says, adding that the -200X proposal, which was first detailed by Boeing in 1996, is attracting interest from several European charter airlines as well as British Airways.

The airline's interest in the 767-400, on the other hand, appears to be less intense. It says that it is satisfied with the size, "-but the problem with a stretch like this is that it loses quite a bit of range. We like the capacity it offers but we would like Boeing to consider a longer-range version".

The airline already operates nine 767-300ERs in its fleet as well as five McDonnell Douglas DC-10s, 18 757-200s and four 737-300s. Condor has six Airbus A320s on order to replace the 737s from 1998 onwards and is looking for higher-capacity aircraft to gradually replace its DC-10s. The 757-300s will replace the DC-10s initially on routes from Europe to the Canary Isles holiday destinations. The aircraft will also be provided with "ER" features to enable them to substitute for 767s on transatlantic charter services.

The following six aircraft will be delivered in the year 2000. While the modernisation of the cabin on the 757-300 is praised, Kirchner adds: "We would have preferred a 737 Next Generation cockpit. We expected more in the cockpit, but minimum change comes with minimum costs, so you can't complain too much."

Source: Flight International