The multi-purpose Boeing 757 remains peerless four decades after its first flight. Mark Broadbent charts the history of the ‘Swiss army penknife’ of aviation and considers operator options to replace the enduring all-rounder.
Whether flying bleary-eyed passengers on early morning trips across the Atlantic, shuttling freight between cargo hubs or ferrying holidaymakers across Europe, few airliners undertake such a variety of tasks as the Boeing 757. Add transporting VIPs, supporting humanitarian operations or trialling new technologies to its CV and the effectiveness of the multi-tasker cannot be overstated.
Yet, this stalwart of the commercial aircraft scene does not rank highly on the list of the biggest-selling airliners. The total 1,049 production examples delivered to customers from 1983 to 2005 pales against other types.