The fascinating history of the Boeing 757

Airliner World reflects on the fascinating history of the Boeing 757, four decades since its first flight

Between the disastrous launch of the 737 MAX, multi-year delays to the 777X and ongoing regulatory scrutiny of the 787 Dreamliner, it’s fair to say that the current generation of Boeing commercial airliners is having a rather bumpy ride. Amid the turbulence, Boeing devotees could be forgiven for harking back to an altogether simpler time, precisely four decades ago, when the American OEM first took flight with what would later become one of its greatest hits.

Delta Boeing 757
The 757 has been a workhorse for domestic links across the United States

To find the roots of the 757 programme, it helps to consider the development and strategy of the earlier 727. Boeing's management was pleased with the success of the trijet – with more than 1,800 being built – and naturally started to examine options to expand the platform. The mid-1970s was a period of high demand for new aircraft and, in time, the OEM studied a stretched and modified version of the jet, which was provisionally known as the 727-300.

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