Air Lease's chief executive believes Boeing is leaning towards a brand-new Boeing 757 replacement with additional capabilities rather than a re-engined version of the type.
"We're very, very intimately involved with Boeing… and based on everything we've seen, I think the re-engining idea is not on the table at this time," said Steven Udvar-Hazy during a fourth-quarter earnings call. "I think Boeing is looking at an airplane that is not only a 757 replacement but one that also could do things beyond that capability in terms of range and size, because this aircraft will be around for 35 or 40 years."
He adds: "I think the focus is on an airplane that can replace the 757 as well as do other things even above that size."
In January, ALC became a launch customer for the long-range version of the Airbus A321neo with a 97-tonne maximum take-off weight. First deliveries are planned for 2019.
However, Udvar-Hazy does not see the new long-range Airbus as a surrogate for the 757.
"I would not characterise the A321LR as a true 100% 757 replacement, but it does accommodate a significant portion of the 757 flying done by US and foreign carriers," he says.
"In Europe, we have a number of carriers that operate these aircraft from northern Europe, the UK, Scandinavia, northern Germany, down into places like the Canary Islands, to Mediterranean resorts, Egypt – places where the A321, with additional range, gives these airlines a lot more payload/range flexibility. Many are now flown with 757s that are getting pretty old."
He also points to flights to South America from North America, particularly Dallas, Houston, Miami and Orlando. "The current A320s and A321s, on some of those sectors, are a little bit marginal in terms of being able to carry full payloads," says Udvar-Hazy.