FedEx Boeing 767-300F

Bill could give the Boeing 767 another 5 years in production – report

The 767F cargo variant may benefit from a bill in the US Congress that will allow the aircraft to be produced until 2033, contrary to ICAO environmental legislation

In continuous production for 42 years, the Boeing 767 has a few more years to remain on the assembly line. But from 2028, the 767-300F cargo variant will be compulsorily retired due to environmental legislation established by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Not only the 767 but also the current 777 and the first generation A330 will leave the scene when it comes to civil operations.

However, Boeing could win an exception if a bill pending in the US Congress is approved. As revealed by Air Current, the new regulations would open a window for the 767 to continue being produced for another five years, until 2033.

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The condition, however, is that the aircraft would only fly on domestic routes in the United States as the ICAO determination will be valid in other countries.

The Everett plant in Washington, where the 767 is assembled
The Everett plant in Washington, where the 767 is assembled (Maurice King)

US politicians’ kind gesture to Boeing would allow the company more time to develop a replacement for the 767F while still delivering aircraft to US freighter companies like FedEx and UPS, whose fleets are numerous.

In the meantime, Boeing could roll out a hypothetical 787F, an aircraft similar in size to the 767.

The Dreamliner is a widebody built largely with composite materials, just like the A350, whose Airbus launched a cargo variant a few years ago, but to date the US company has not confirmed this plan.

US Air Force KC-46A
US Air Force KC-46A (USAF)

A re-engined Boeing 767?

Boeing has already produced and delivered more than 1,300 767 jets, including passenger versions (767-200, 767-300 and 767-400), cargo and military versions (KC-46A).

According to the updated report through April, there are 101 planes still pending delivery, most of them KC-46 tankers (59 for the US Air Force, four for Israel and two for Japan).

In the civil segment, FedEx, with 15 orders, and UPS, with 21 orders, are the only customers at the moment.

The bill in progress comes after rumors about a 767 re-engineering project not being launched by Boeing.

A 767-400ER with GEnx engines could look like this
A ficticious Boeing 767 with GEnx engines (Aero Icarus)

According to sources from some outlets in 2019, the planemaker studied the alternative of replacing the old CF-6, PW4000 and RB211 turbofans with the GEnX engine, which is more efficient and meets emissions levels.

However, in the following years, Boeing was plunged into a sequence of crises that put its reputation on the rocks and given the need to focus on these problems, it will be no surprise that the idea has been left in the corner ever since.

The help from US congressmen, on the other hand, seems like a cheaper solution – although reprehensible from an environmental aspect – to resolve yet another of the problematic company’s dilemmas.


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