What makes the Boeing 757 such a good freighter?

A growing number of Boeing 757 freighters serve the world’s cargo carriers. Jon Lake charts the evolutionary course of this flexible freighter.

The Boeing 757 was designed as a replacement for the older Model 727, and it was perhaps inevitable that Boeing’s new narrow-body would follow its trijet predecessor into the cargo market. Although wide-bodied aircraft were rapidly being pressed into use in the freighter role, especially on intercontinental routes, and though these were enjoying great popularity thanks to their capacious cabins, there was still a place for a smaller freighter to provide capacity along ‘the spokes’ that emanated from the cargo carriers’ regional hubs. And the 757 promised to do so while offering much better fuel economy than the 727, and the ability to use shorter or hot and high runways.

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