Boeing considered a number of proposals for a successor to the 727 trijet during the 1970s, with many of these designs featuring the nose and Ttail of the earlier jet. It was not until later in that decade however that Boeing settled on a more conventional design featuring the same cross section as the 727 (not to mention the 737, 707 and 720) but with the fuselage considerably longer in length, an all new wing, nose and flightdeck and fuel efficient high bypass turbofan engines.
Boeing launched development of the 757 in March 1979 following orders from British Airways and Eastern. Developed in tandem with the larger widebody 767 the two types share a number of systems and technologies, including a common early generation EFIS flightdeck.
First flight was on February 19 1982 and the 757 entered service in January the following year. Subsequent versions to appear are the 757-200PF Package Freighter, a pure freighter, and the 757-200M Combi (only one has been built). The standard passenger aircraft is designated the 757-200, there being no 100. The stretched 757-300 is described separately.
Initial sales of the 757 were fairly slow, however orders picked up significantly in the mid to late 1980s as traffic on routes previously served by smaller 727s and 737s grew to require the 757's extra capacity. Today 757 sales comfortably exceed those of the 767, a position that was reversed until the late 1980s.