Boeing 767 Guide and Specs: Is It Wide Enough?

Boeing ushered in the age of the wide-body aircraft with the 747, after which the wide-body platform became standard for long-haul flights. To complement the larger 747, Boeing began the 7X7 program on July 14, 1978. The result of the program was Boeing’s first wide-body twinjet with two aisles that seated seven across, the 767-200. The aircraft was introduced with United Airlines on September 8, 1984.

The Boeing 767 has had seven commercial variants and another seven military variants. The main changes were centered around lengthening the fuselage to increase the capacity. The original seated 216 passengers, while the 767-300 and 767-400ER seated 269 and 245, respectively. 

The 767 has many variants because it was built with upgradeability in mind. The airframe, wings, and landing gear of the original 767-200 were over-engineered to handle higher loads than the aircraft would require. It allowed Boeing to modify the 767 with minimal effort. 

As of 2022, the 767 has been in production for 41 years and is expected to end on December 31, 2027. Production is scheduled to end for two reasons. The popular 767-300F no longer meets the new ICAO emission standards, and the outstanding orders for the military should be complete by then. The 757 will become obsolete unless regulations are changed, or Boeing receives more orders for their military variants, both of which are unlikely. 

Boeing 767

Boeing 767 Specifications

The following specifications are for the 767-400ER model, which was the final iteration of the aircraft.  

Exterior Dimensions
Length 201.44 ft / 61.40 m
Tail Height 55.81 ft / 17.01 m 
Fuselage Max Diameter 16.50 ft / 5.03 m
Wingspan 170.27 ft / 51.90 m
Wing Area 3129 ft² / 290,7 m²
Cabin Dimensions
Width 15.49 ft / 4.72 m
Height 6.89 ft / 2.10 m
Length 170.27 ft / 51.9 m
Maximum Cargo Volume 4,905 ft³  / 138.9 m³
Weights
Maximum Ramp Weight 451,000 lbs / 204,570 kg
Maximum Take-Off Weight 450,000 lbs / 204,116 kg
Maximum Landing Weight 350,000 lbs / 158,757 kg
Maximum Zero Fuel 330,000 lbs / 149,685 kg
Useable Fuel 161,738 lbs / 73,363 kg
Operating Empty Weight 227,400 lbs / 103,147 kg
Maximum Payload 102,600 lbs / 46,538 kg
Performance
Range (with Max Passengers) 5,645 Nmi / 10,454 kmph
Maximum Cruise Speed 0.80 / 460 kts / 529 mph / 852 kmph
Fuel Capacity 24,140 gal / 91,370 l
Fuel Burn Per Hour (Average) 11,023 lbs / 5,000 kg
Takeoff Distance (SL, ISA, MTOW) 9,501 ft / 2,896 m
Landing Distance (SL, ISA, MTOW) 7,001 ft / 2,134 m
Service Ceiling  43,000 ft / 13,106 m
Rated Takeoff Thrust (PW4000) 20,7696 lbf / 281.6 kN
Rated Takeoff Thrust (GE CF6) 20,8360 lbf / 282.5 kN
Occupancy
Flight Crew 2
Occupancy (Three Class) 243
Occupancy (Two Class) 296
Occupancy Max 409
Systems
Flight Deck Rockwell Collins B767 Avionics
Engine(s) General Electric CF6-80C2B8F
Pratt & Whitney PW4062
Auxiliary Power Unit Allied Signal GCTP 331-400B

Boeing 767 Performance and Flight Characteristics

The 767-200 was powered by first-generation high-bypass turbofans, which increased efficiency greatly. The Boeing 767 was offered with various engine choices, which was a first for Boeing. Engine choices included the Rolls Royce RB211, General Electric CF6, and Pratt & Whitney JT9D. 

Other design elements included a larger, supercritical wing which reduced drag and distributed lift evenly across the aerofoil. The changes allowed the aircraft to fly higher and carry more fuel, increasing fuel efficiency and range. The Boeing 767 was the first Boeing airliner to have a glass cockpit and the first-ever aircraft to conduct a transatlantic flight under ETOPS regulations.

Boeing 767

The 767 was made slightly narrower than traditional wide-body aircraft to reduce drag further. An unintended side effect was the inability to accommodate two standard LD3 cargo containers side by side, which Boeing remedied by creating an aircraft-specific LD2 size. 

The 767 had different handling characteristics than the average jetliner at the time. This change was attributed to its wing design. The supercritical wings reduced profile drag but also increased the speed at which shockwaves formed on the wing and the location at which they occur. The result was an aircraft that could fly faster and was less prone to mach tuck and shockwaves.

See also: Airbus a380 Guide and Specs: Does Bigger Mean Better?

Boeing 767 Modifications and Options

Boeing offered the 767 in either single, dual, or triple class configurations. 

The single-class configuration consists of all economy seating and allows the airline to maximize the number of passengers the aircraft can carry. For a 767-400ER, 409 passengers can be transported in a single-class configuration. 

The dual-class configuration introduces business class seating and reduces the total capacity to 296 passengers. Finally, the triple-class configuration includes first-class seating, further reducing the capacity to 243 passengers. 

Boeing 767 Price

As of March 2021, a 767-300ER costs $217 million, while the 300F is priced at $220 million. However, aftermarket prices for the aircraft are significantly lower, especially for older aircraft. According to Aircraft Cost Calculator, the average price for a pre-owned 767-300ER is $17.5 million. 

Boeing 767 Operation Costs

Boeing 767 300

The owner/operator of an aircraft incurs many costs over the year, and the 767 is no different. We can separate the costs into two categories: fixed and variable.

Fixed Costs

Fixed costs are precisely that. Whether you operate the aircraft for hundreds of hours or none, the amount you have to pay will stay constant. 

The fixed cost breakdown is as follows:

Lease Cost

Most airlines lease their aircraft. The amount paid yearly depends on the aircraft’s purchase price, the lease’s length, and the interest rate. A 737-300F is priced at $220 million (as of March 2021); however, the actual price an operator pays for one can be considerably lower depending on their relationship with Boeing and the size of the order. Therefore a blanket lease cost for the 767 is impossible to estimate. 

Crew Salary

According to Delta Airlines, the average annual salary for a captain on a 767 is $223,321, and a first officer is paid $120,439. The salaries mentioned include both basic pay and allowances. The 767 requires a crew of 2. An airplane cannot function without flight attendants, and a fully-loaded Boeing 767 requires up to 5 to function. The median annual salary for a flight attendant is $49,407, which means an airline operating 767 long-haul flights costs an airline an average of $585,795 annually. 

Airplane Worker

Maintenance Costs

According to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), all aircraft must undergo scheduled maintenance. While member states can choose their timelines, almost everyone has chosen to adopt the schedule outlined by the ICAO. 

While most maintenance costs depend on the hours an aircraft flies, there are time-sensitive maintenance checks that have to be conducted regardless of the hours an aircraft flies, such as biannual engine inspections and complete annual inspections.

Insurance

The amount airlines pay to insure themselves, their aircraft, and employees aren’t common knowledge. Additionally, the cost will likely depend on the size of the operator’s fleet and will not be limited to a single aircraft type.

Variable Costs

As the name suggests, variable costs vary with use. There are several variable costs that an operator has to manage. Still, the main categories are fuel, storage, and operating fees. 

Fuel

The highest variable cost for any airline is fuel. The 767 burns an average of 11,023 pounds per hour (5,000 kg), but this is a ballpark figure and varies wildly based on the altitude and other performance factors. The total cost per hour for fuel for a 767 will be $8,817 at the rate of $4.80 a gallon. 

Another variable of the fuel cost is the location at which the crew will refuel the aircraft. Certain airports charge much more than others for the same gallon of fuel. For example, at the beginning of 2020, in the United States, a metric tonne or 1000 kg (2,204 lbs) of Jet-A1 cost $650, but the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a significant reduction in oil prices. The same metric tonne of Jet-A1 cost $450 one year later, and as of May 2021, prices of Jet-A1 have reduced again to $200 per tonne. The current fuel prices in Europe are in flux because of the tension between the European Union and Russia because of the war in Ukraine and the corresponding sanctions imposed by the EU on Russia, which was a major supplier of their fossil fuels.

Operating Costs

Operating costs for a flight can include airport taxes, landing fees, and refreshments served aboard the aircraft. The total costs are tough to obtain; however, turnaround charges for a 767-300ER are estimated to be between $1,500 to $2,000. 

Boeing 767 Sky

Storage Costs

The main methods of parking aircraft are either ramp storage or hangar storage. 

Tie-down storage is just renting some ramp space to park the aircraft on. There is no protection from the wind, rain, and other elements. This method is relatively inexpensive and is the most common. 

Hangars keep the aircraft safe and out of reach from the elements but are very costly. Airlines usually do not store aircraft in hangars unless maintenance is being carried out or for safety purposes such as tornadoes. 

Boeing 767 Variants

Planes On Airport

The 767 line had seven variants, excluding the versions Boeing built for military use. 

767-200

The 767-200 was the original model offered for sale after the 767-100 was deemed too similar in capacity to the narrow body 757. It ushered in a new era for twinjet wide-body aircraft by showing airlines that fuel-efficient twinjets can also operate long-haul routes while keeping costs low. The aircraft was designed for long-haul routes, had a maximum range of 3,900 nmi (7,200 km), and seated 216 passengers. 

767-2C

The 767-2C is the most recent iteration of the 767 and flew for the first time in December 2014. It is designed for cargo purposes and is the base for the U.S.A.F KC-46 tanker. The 727-2C has a 767-200 fuselage and the wings of a 767-300. Other changes, such as an updated flight deck, have been introduced to bring the aircraft up to modern specifications. 

767-200ER

Airplane In Sky

The first variant of the 767, the 200ER (Extended Range), broke the distance record for a twinjet by flying 8,727 nmi (16,200 km) during its non-stop flight from Halifax Nova Scotia, to Port Louis, Mauritius. 

The additional range was achieved by using the dry dock to carry extra fuel, and though the MTOW was increased, the additional weight of the fuel meant the number of passengers the ER model could carry decreased. The 767-200ER also received upgraded PW4000 and GE-CF6 engines after launch. 

767-300

Demand for a higher capacity 767 prompted Boeing to create the 767-300. Boeing increased the length of the fuselage by 21.1 ft (6.43 m), which was achieved by installing two fuselage plugs, one before and another after the wings. 

There were barely any changes to the 300 except the option of more powerful engines in the form of newer PW4000 and RR-RB211 engines. During its 14-year production period, 104 aircraft were manufactured. 

767-300ER

Boeing 767 300ER

The 300ER is the most popular version of the 767 and sold 583 units, which is more than every other model combined. The aircraft could carry a maximum of 350 passengers in a single-class configuration. It was offered in various design weights, which affected the range of the aircraft, the maximum range on offer was 6,385 nmi (12,195 km). 

The 300ER’s increased range was achieved similarly to the 200ER. By eliminating the dry dock and using the space for fuel storage. A significant change to the 300ER was the refreshed interior which improved passenger comfort and increased the volume of the overhead bins. 

767-300F

The cargo version of the 300ER was designated the 300F and entered into service in 1995. The aircraft has a total volume of 15,470 ft³ (438 m³). A total of 161 767-300F have been ordered; however, the number of 767-300F in service is higher due to the BCF program. 

The BCF (Boeing Converted Freighter) program converts passenger models to cargo models. Boeing, Israel Aerospace Industries, ST Aerospace Services, and Wagner Aeronautical companies offer this service. The main changes include strengthening the structure to handle the weight and stressors of cargo operations. 

767-400ER

Boeing 767-400ER

The 400ER was created by adding another fuselage plug to the body of the existing 300ER, and like the 300ER, the length was increased by the same amount, 21.1 ft (6.43 m). To accommodate the extension, the aircraft’s structure was strengthened, and the landing gear was revamped. Rake wingtips were also added, resulting in a wingspan increase of 14.3 ft (4.36m. Additional changes included an updated cockpit and a brand new interior inspired by the 777. The General Electric CF6 powerplants were also uprated to produce more thrust. 

The 747-400ER could fly a maximum of 5,625 nmi (10,418km), less than the previous 300ER. This is because the fuel capacity of the 400ER was not increased. The 400ER sold an underwhelming 38 units before being discontinued in 2014.

Boeing 767 Competitors

A330-200

Airbus A330-200

The Airbus A330-200 was built to compete with the 767-200 model. The A330-200 carried 247 passengers and could fly a maximum of 13,450 km or 7,250 nmi with a full load. This meant that it beat out the 767 in both occupancy and range. 

The A330-200 performed better because it was manufactured after the original 767-200, but the introduction of the 767-200ER soon mitigated its range advantage. However, the damage had been done. Airbus had found a goldilocks zone of range and capacity requirements, resulting in the A330 outselling the B767 by close to 400 units as of April 2022.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

Question: What is Transonic Flight?

The transonic flight envelope is the speed between an aircraft’s 1.2 Mach and Mcrit (critical Mach number). It is usually between 0.8 to 1.2 for most modern jetliners. The transonic range is greatly affected by temperature, not just the speed of the aircraft. At higher temperatures, the Mach number is lower for a given speed than it would be in colder temperatures. 

Question: What is Mcrit?

Mcrit, the critical Mach number, is the speed at which a point on the airframe becomes supersonic. It is usually a limiting factor for subsonic aircraft because flying faster would result in a high-speed stall.

Question: What is Mach Tuck?

Mach tuck is an aircraft’s violent nose-down pitch tendency caused by a sudden change in the center of pressure. This only occurs if an aircraft surpasses its maximum Mach no (Mmo). 

Recommended Reads:

References

Boeing. (2005). 767 Airplane Characteristics for Airport Planning. Boeing.

Company, S. P. (n.d.). Ownership and operating costs. BOEING  767-300ER. Retrieved June 8, 2022, from https://www.aircraftcostcalculator.com/AircraftOperatingCosts/384/Boeing+767-300ER

Delta Air Lines pilot pay. (n.d.). Retrieved June 6, 2022, from https://www.aviationinterviews.com/pilot/payrates/delta-air-lines-27.html

Haenggi, M. (2003). Boeing widebodies.

Hayward, J. (2021, July 9). The Rise And Fall Of The Boeing 767. Simple Flying. https://www.simpleflying.com/the-rise-and-fall-of-the-boeing-767/#:~:text=767%20orders%20and%20operators,aircraft%20(767%2D2C).

Introducing the 767-400 extended range airplane. (n.d.). Retrieved June 8, 2022, from https://www.boeing.com/commercial/aeromagazine/aero_03/textonly/ps01txt.html

Levine-Weinberg, A. (2021, June 27). The boeing 767: An unlikely port in the current storm. The Motley Fool. https://www.fool.com/investing/2021/06/27/the-boeing-767-an-unlikely-port-in-the-current-sto/

Salas, E. B. (n.d.). Boeing aircraft prices 2020. Statista. Retrieved June 8, 2022, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/273941/prices-of-boeing-aircraft-by-type/

Trimble, S. (2014, December 28). Boeing completes first flight of new freighter and tanker. Flight Global. https://www.flightglobal.com/boeing-completes-first-flight-of-new-freighter-and-tanker/115499.article

Wayback machine. (n.d.). Retrieved June 8, 2022, from https://web.archive.org/web/20151231204821/http://active.boeing.com/commercial/orders/displaystandardreport.cfm?cboCurrentModel=767&optReportType=AllModels&cboAllModel=767&ViewReportF=View+Report

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