Stitch wrote:littlewing347 wrote:What is the magic of the 757 that this 40 year old design still gets raves from airlines? And if it is so great as Nocella says, why did not United and other airlines do top-up orders some 20 years ago when Boeing called them with "last call, we will shut down the 757 line unless we get some orders"?
I expect the biggest "magic" is the frame is paid for so the capital costs have been fully amortized compared to a new-purchase airframe. And effectively being a super-long 737 / A320, the CASM is great thanks to all the seats.
As to why they didn't order a ton back in the day, the model entered service in 1999 and by the time it was in full serial production, 9/11 happened and domestic air travel in the United States collapsed so the need for a high-capacity people-hauler dried up. Add in SARS two years later and Asia, which arguably could have been a popular market, also dried up.
And with the 737NG setting sales records, Boeing needed more production capacity for that family and the quickest and easiest way to add it was to close the 757 line and turn it into another 737NG line. So with neither US or Asian operators clamoring for more 757s of any model, that is what Boeing did.
The 757 line was closed after the US major airlines suffered a financial crisis after the 9/11 attacks and were seeing negative balance sheets. At the same time, we had a notorious cost cutter Harry Stonecipher at the helm at Boeing who was looking to reduce factory space. Stonecipher and his protege Mike Sears were big proponents of using the metric of Return on Net Assets (RNA), which meant that factory/office floor space was used as metric for means to cut cost. The 757 line at its low rates did not look favorably using that metric.
By the early 2000s, the 757 had essentially found its niche on US domestic routes with some other operators needing its short-field and high-altitude capability. Realistically, the 757-300 really was only going to be used within a fleet of current 757-200 operators.
I have insider information that airlines came back to Boeing after the line was shut down asking to purchase the 757-300, but once a line has been shut down and tooling scrapped it is too expensive to re-start.