Which Airlines Have Flown The Most Examples Of Each Boeing 767 Variant?

The 767 has been a popular aircraft with many airlines and a success story for Boeing. It remains in production in 2022 (with outstanding freighter orders still), almost 40 years after it entered service. Boeing has developed several variants with differing levels of popularity.

Developing the Boeing 767

The Boeing 767 followed on from the success of the 747 for Boeing. The Boeing 747 had been designed as a much larger replacement for the popular Boeing 707 (with Pan Am driving its production). The widebody concept was successful, and the 767 was Boeing’s next design, developing a lower capacity widebody but more fuel-efficient with two engines. It was developed alongside the Boeing 757, and several shared components and designs saved money for Boeing. Airbus later did the same (and went further) with the A330 and A340.


The Boeing 767 project was officially launched in 1978, with an order for 30 aircraft from United Airlines. Orders from American Airlines and Delta Air Lines soon followed. The first aircraft flew in September 1981 and entered service a year later.

Boeing 767

The 767 was first proposed with a smaller 767-100 and a larger 767-200 variant. The 767-100 was dropped as it would offer a similar capacity to the 757. Likewise, an early proposal to build a three-engine version for longer range operation (remember that twins were still very limited in the pre-ETOPS days) was also dropped, leaving just the 767-200 at launch. It first entered service with United Airlines in September 1982.

The Boeing 767-200

The Boeing 767-200 was popular with US airlines. Its range permitted transcontinental flights, and once it received ETOPS 120 approval (the 767-200 was the first aircraft to do so, in 1985), it could operate transatlantic routes.

United Airlines was the launch customer and the largest operator of the type, with a total of 31 aircraft operated over time (airline fleet information is based on data from ATDB.aero). Delta Air Lines operated 20 767-200s, and American Airlines operated nine aircraft.

Delta 767-200

The Boeing 767-200ER

The upgraded 767-200ER followed within a year of the 767-200, with increased payload and fuel capacity. Its range was increased to 6,385 nautical miles (11.825 kilometers), from the 767-200s 3,900 nautical miles (7,200 kilometers). Its popularity began to expand away from the US, with ETOPS now firmly in place. Ethiopian Airlines placed the first order in 1982, and the type entered service with El Al in 1984. With the 767-200ER, American Airlines led the way, operating 21 aircraft. United Airlines operated 16.


The Boeing 767-300

The stretched Boeing 767-300 entered service in 1986 with Japan Airlines. It took capacity up to a maximum of 290 from 245. It was also the basis for the first 767 cargo variant, the 767-300F.

Delta Air Lines this time became the largest passenger operator, with 38 767-300 aircraft. It was very popular with the Japanese airlines as well, though – ANA operated 35 and JAL operated 22. FedEx is by far the largest operator for freighter variants, with 150 aircraft operated.

Boeing 767-300

The stretched Boeing 767-300, and 767-300ER, went on to be the biggest successes. Photo: Boeing

The Boeing 767-300ER

The Boeing 767-300ER, with increased payload and range, went on to be the best-selling of all 767 variants – with almost 600 aircraft delivered.

All the legacy US airlines have been major operators of the type. Delta Air Lines has operated 66 aircraft, American Airlines 61 aircraft, and United Airlines 46 aircraft. Outside the US, Qantas has operated 38 aircraft, and British Airways has operated 32 aircraft. For freighter variants, UPS takes the lead with 101 freighter versions operated.

The 767-300ER remains well in use today, with Delta Air Lines and United Airlines still leading the way (with 46 and 38 active aircraft according to data from ch-aviation.com).

UPS 767

UPS is a major operator of the 767-300 and -300ER. Photo: Boeing

The Boeing 767-400ER

The Boeing 767-400ER came about largely at the request of US airlines (Delta Air Lines in particular) for a higher capacity variant. It took passenger capacity up to 296. A longer-range version was planned but canceled. It is the least popular of the 767 variants, with only 38 delivered. Delta Air Lines has operated 21 of these.

Delta 767-400ER

The US airlines have led the way with all 767 variants, and the later variants remain well in service. Feel free to discuss these airlines, or any other major operators, further in the comments. Many 767s have found extended use with cargo operators too.

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