Just like its erstwhile competitor, the Airbus A330, the Boeing 767 lives on with production raised from 1.5 to 2.0 per month later this year and the line set to continue until at least 2020. Last week FedEx ordered 50 767-300F freighters. Meanwhile, United said that next month it will begin conversion of its 21 three-class Boeing 767s to two-class.
United, in an internal publication for technical operations employees, said that the modifications it will make to its 767s “include many behind-the-scenes but vitally important improvements that should extend the life of the fleet by years and improve reliability.”
In an interview, Brian Znotins, United’s Vice President of Network, said that refurbishing 767s makes sense because of the low cost basis and the high consumer satisfaction level.
It can be better to use an older, paid-for aircraft than a newer one that is more fuel-efficient. “We plan long-term fleet at US$3 fuel,” Znotins said. (In the second quarter, United’s mainline average fuel price was $2.12 a gallon).
The 767s score high in United passenger consumer ratings. United, which polls passengers by email and gets 8,000 responses a day, has found that the Boeing 767s with remodelled interiors are the second most popular wide-bodies, after the 787s. “Inside, they look brand new,” Znotins said.