Transport Blog eulogizes the Boeing 757 as that aircraft is ushered out of production.
- The 757 was intended to replace the 727, but for some reason Boeing got its market research wrong. Rather than building a 150 seat replacement for the 150 seat 727, Boeing made the 757 a 200 seater. As it happened, most of the airlines that were replacing their 727s didn’t want a 200 seater, but wanted a 150 seater. Boeing did not immediately have one available, and this provided a market opening that was ultimately taken up by Airbus, who built the A320, and by McDonnell Douglas, who built a stretched version of the DC-9 called the MD-80. This was the market opening that allowed Airbus to move from a niche player in the airliner world to being clear number two in the 1990s, and to perhaps even be number one today. Boeing eventually filled this gap with a new 150 seat version of the 737, but a few years later.
Although it missed its intended market, the 757 was not a failure. This was largely because the engineers did a really good job, and the aircraft ended up having much longer range than it would have needed for the 727 replacement role.