Boeing's venerable 767 has become only the second widebody aircraft to cross the 1,000th delivery mark.

The 91st 767-300ER for Japan's All Nippon Airways, powered by twin General Electric CF6-80C2 engines and registered JA622A, was unveiled during a 2 February ceremony at Boeing's final assembly plant in Everett, Washington.

"As we salute the 1,000th 767, the next 767 is already being built in a new bay where we can produce airplanes much more efficiently for years to come. We hope many of the new 767s will become U.S. Air Force tankers built right here," says Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Jim Albaugh.

ANA Boeing 767-300ER 1000 

 © Boeing

After an output of 1,000 airframes, the 767 production line has transitioned from its original home inside the 40-24 building to 40-33, a rear-facing bay that required modifications to the factory, such as a new door and a removal of a corner from the world's largest building by volume to accommodate transit to the flight line.

The goal is to shrink the aircraft's factory footprint by half, instituting lean manufacturing practices to cut Boeing's recurring cost to build each aircraft.

In place of the original 767 line, Boeing will establish a second "surge" final assembly line for its 787, which is expected to be operational by early 2012.

The move to a lean two-position assembly line is aimed at making Boeing's tanker proposal more affordable, a key measurement in the KC-X competition.

Boeing plans to submit a final bid for the KC-X contract on 11 February.

The only other widebody jetliner to see 1,000 deliveries is the Boeing 747, which has seen more than 1,430 built since 1968. The 1,000th 747, a -400 model, was delivered to Singapore Airlines in October 1993.

When it entered service with United Airlines in September 1982, the 767-200 featured a two-person flight deck, offering airlines a significant cost savings over the three-crew Boeing 707, which it replaced.

The type also holds the title of being the first to receive 180min extended twin-engine operations (ETOPS) certification from the US Federal Aviation Administration, pushing commercial aviation past rules initially developed for piston aircraft and opened more efficient routing for over water operations.

In the company's near-100-year history, the 767-300ER also holds the distinction of being the most profitable Boeing airliner.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news