Air Transport World

Boeing 757 program gets closer to success with PF version. (package freighter)

Boeing 757 program gets closer to success with PF version

Most people feel that the Boeing 757 will eventually be a successful program. But, thus far, success has been elusive for the narrowbody twinjet. It has been eight years since the program was launched and 189 have been sold, a lot of orders at some manufacturers, but not for The Boeing Company.

The necessary ingredients to turn things around are a clampdown on Stage II aircraft noise, a reversal of fuel prices, lack of used planes and more U.S. slot problems.

In the meantime, Boeing is trying various tacks to elicit interest in its 757. One effort that has succeeded is the PF--for package freighter--launched Dec. 30, 1985 with a 20-firm, 15-option order from United Parcel Service.

There were only two express companies with sufficient capital and need to get the PF moving: UPS or Federal Express (ATW, 7/85). Federal Express held out, and continues to do so. As far as the Memphis-based company is concerned, the 757 is a superior plane operationally and technically. It's simply too expensive. That attitude is not surprising. The express companies operate primarily at night. Planes are on the ground most of the day and therefore do not normally justify new-plane prices.

But Boeing and Pratt & Whitney combined to bring the UPS price down to a reported $31.5-million average per plane. That is far below list price and a couple of million per plane under Republic's Rolls-Royce-powered passenger version. (One wag describes the price of Republic's planes, which were white tails, in fire-sale terms, "three for 100,' or $100 million.)

Federal Express thinks the 757 won't make sense until its old stand-by, the Boeing 727-200, costs $16 million on the used-plane market. That price takes into account the payload differential between the two. …

Log in to your account to read this article – and millions more.