United Airlines has confirmed sending a request to Boeing seeking pricing information about the 767 as part of wider, preliminary discussions on the carrier’s future widebody aircraft needs with Airbus and Boeing.
The confirmation of the request comes a week after Boeing executives said they were seeing “broader customer interest” in the 767 almost 3.5 years after delivering the last passenger-carrying version to an airline.
“We maintain regular discussions about our long term fleet needs with the manufacturers, including Boeing and Airbus,” United says in a statement. “As part of these discussions we typically ask for information including pricing for different aircraft types. We have not recently asked for an offer for any particular widebody aircraft type but have in the ordinary course of discussions asked for information about several widebody aircraft including the 767.”
Although the 767-300ER hasn’t received a new order in four years, Boeing has not completely abandoned the type. The 767-300ER remains itemised with a $201 million list price on Boeing’s web site, along with active production models such as the 767-2C for the US Air Force and the 767-300F for the commercial freighter market.
Boeing delivered the last 767-300ER to Air Astana in June 2014, putting a 26-year production run for the type at least on hiatus.
But market interest in the closest rival – the re-engined A330-800neo – has never gained momentum, with only six orders from a single customer – Hawaiian Airlines.
Boeing plans to introduce its New Mid-market Airplane in the mid-2020s with seating capacity for 200-270 passengers and ranges up to about 5,000nm. Both characteristics fall within the sweetspot of a light, twin-engined widebody, such as the 767-300ER.
But some airlines, including United, are eager to move faster. The airline has more than 40 767s that have no obvious, direct replacement until the NMA arrives in at least seven or eight years.