B757 replacement - NSA or NST?

Two different concepts for a B757 successor emerged over the last few weeks.
First, there was an article by "The Motley Fool" (not exactly an aviation expert website) speculating about a B757MAX (and  Scott Hamilton from Leeham Co. confirming these rumours), with composite wings and a new engine. Although this rumour was quickly dismissed by Steve Wilhelm from the Puget Sound Business Journal and another "Fool" and Boeing itself assured that they are not planning any B757MAX, it would be a relatively straigthforward and easy way to fight against the A321neo, as the numbers and the market already showed that the B737MAX-9 will be an inferior aircraft (I expect some announcements in the not too distant future that will further show that Boeing has a problem here). A new wing, new wingbox and new engines (which would be a few percentage points better in SFC than the PW1100G and the LEAP-1A) would provide enough improvement to be a very good aircraft for thin transatlantic routes. But then what? Airbus would not stand by and could develop a A322 with a similar fuselage length, also a new wing and wingbox and the same engines. And with successors for both of the narrowbody families planned for 2030+ that will likely start at today's B737-800 size, an EIS around 2022 would provide a production run of 10 years at best. So that concept does not really make sense.
Meanwhile also Scott Hamilton wrote another article about the subject, making clear that the "757 replacement" can only be part of a new family of aircraft, starting at the B737-800NG/B737MAX-8 size and topping at about 240 passengers, set by the aspirations from Airbus regarding the A321neo and that an EIS would be not anytime soon, i.e. not 2022.

The other concept emerged from an article by Aspire Aviation and this is completely different. Daniel Tsang proposes a small twin aisle family with a 2-3-2 seating configuration, comprising of two models between 200 and 240 seats. This of course would be a clean sheet design with the associated high development costs. The B737MAX family would still sell, he thinks, for shorter routes, as the "NSA" (New Small Airplane, not the other one...) would be optimised for routes around 4000nm in a 200-220 seat 2-class layout (where a B737MAX-9 and a A321neo would have to trade range versus payload).

But would the market be large enough for such an aircraft to justify a completely new aircraft, built from (today) very expensive carbon fibres? I think: yes and no! No, as I think the seat count of 200-240 would not cover a market potential large enough. And yes, if this NSA (albeit then not so "small") would occupy a larger part of the market, ranging from the B757-200 all the way up to the B767-300, say, from 220-280 passengers and a range around 4,500nm, to cover transatlantic flights between the US East Coast and Europe. This aircraft would have the potential to replace all the B757-200W,  B767-300ER, A330-200/300 and maybe also some B787-8 that are used on these routes today (and more then).

Now: could this aircraft be the first Boeing to be powered by a geared engine?
A few weeks ago Rolls Royce very openly committed themselves to the geared technology and pursues such an engine for 2025. As I do not believe we would see the "NSA" (I would call it "NST", for "New Small Twin") before 2025, that could fit in Boeing's time planning.
Now with two of the big engine companies in the "geared camp" what will GE do? My bet: the next generation of narrowbody engines (beyond the A320neo/B737MAX generation) will be "geared only" - including GE! Of course nobody from GE (or Safran) will say so openly today, because that would mean to admit concede against the "gear". But I am sure that behind the scenes GE is working closely with their new affiliate Avio Aero in Italy (providing  the Fan Drive Gear System for the PW1100G) to have a an engine architecture ready for the mid 2020's. And Snecma is working on a geared open rotor in the Clean Sky project.


  1. Many years ago, Caterpillar dissed Detroit Diesel for their unit injectors (injector and nozzle in one unit that was cam actuated).

    Then Cat discovered it worked far better than the separate pump and nozzle and then quietly went into using it (when emissions became an issue it was suddenly found to be a solution, fare more precise and controllable as well as a lot less goo emitted (Detroit made the first ones for Cat as Cat was not geared up for it at the time)

    So too will GE quietly join the geared camp, but it will be touted as the Whizenator 845 not a geared system.

    GE can afford to screw up, P&W could not. Question is will GE join PW in a joint venture and the GP engine Alliance per the A380 or go it alone?

  2. From personal experience I can tell you that a GE/PW like in the EA woll never happen again.

  3. There's no need for an all new plane...Boeing already has a 2-3-2 aircraft in production: the 767. MAX the thing with the GEnx-2b's straight from the 748, (they only weight about 1200 lb's each more than the RB211's), split scimitar winglets and some additional weight reduction with Al-Li and you have a plane that slots between the 321 and 788 in every category...OEW, MTOW, range and CASM.

    GE would be tickled to sell a few more of those engines with the inevitible demise of the 748 and could probably be talked into doing the integration work. The 767 and 744 shared engines before....it could probably happen again.

    Cost could also be spread out by adding some of the improvements to the KC-46A.

    Yes, the 330/788 combo supposedly killed off the 767...but that's not the market I'm talking about. Both of those planes make terrible 757 replacements....but the 767 family already covers most of the passenger range talked about for a 757 replacement.

    Their only other somewhat realistic options are to work some real magic on the 739MAX to improve its performance or to be happy with their market share.

    1. The LD2 has always been a fly in the LD3 milksoup, compromising full 767 attraction ... what Boeing needs is an A321/A322 stopper : to me, the train left the station when the 737 was MAX'ed ... from this end the recommended ICU recovery strategy is an H52QR MAX + H53QR MAX dual revamp, blowing the dust off the old 757construction blueprints including retrofits whenever there is enough residual life : low investment, high ROIC, buying a lifeline to NFB (New Feeder, Boeing), means building upon the popular motto "it takes a 757 to replace a 757", a good laugh for the Old Boys in Chicago, a kick in the market anthill !

  4. One more thing; I don't actually expect the 767 to be MAX'd....but fixing up the 767 would tick a lot of the boxes being discussed. I'd say the long term market for that segment, (before Boeing and Airbus come up with their next new things), is around 500-1000 aircraft....more than enough to pay for some upgrades but probably not enough to make an all new production worthwhile.

    It's a good discussion to have because the gap between the 739/321 and 788/330 is huge.

  5. Boeing made the decision to kill off the 757 as it was not selling, and the 767 no matter how efficient it could be made is far too much aircraft to be considered as a 757 replacement.
    The need for a 757 replacement is essentially an a.net myth!
    Fascinated by your inference to an as yet unpublished -9MAX issue.

    1. I did not talk about a MAX-9 issue, but that the competitiveness relative to the A321neo will further erode...

  6. "This aircraft would have the potential to replace all the B757-200W, B767-300ER, A330-200/300 and maybe also some B787-8 that are used on these routes today (and more then)."

    Airbus could also position the existing A330 line clearly inbetween the A321 and A350-900. A lighter smaller variant more in line with the original A300/A310 but with new technology..


  7. Airbus is bumping up the A321 NEO with 240 seats max and 35 klbs engines, enlarging the payload range and airfield performance gap with the 737-9..