At the end of the Seventies Boeing developed together with the 757 the Boeing 767 as a competitor for the A300/A310 for short- and medium distances. The 757 and 767 have much in common, e.g. the flight deck. When the first flight took place in 1981, there were already two versions of the 767 available, the -200 and the -200ER with extended range. A smaller version -100 had been turned down. Launching customer of the Boeing 767 was United Airlines, which ordered 30 aircrafts. As a result of the high range of the 767ER, it was used more and more on long distance flights which were too low frequented to justify the use of Boeing 747.
Nowadays the most common 767 is the B767-300, which is stretched about seven metres compared to the -200. Japan Airlines ordered the first one in 1983. Thanks to the ETOPS regluation the 767 made a very big career as a long haul aircraft which led to its nickname "Queen of the Atlantic". Indeed, no other aircraft type crosses the Atlantic Ocean more often than the 767.
Already in the Eighties there was the idea of stretching the 767 another time for the long distance market. But as this didn't seem to be possible in a satisfying way, Boeing decided to develop the 777. But when Airbus became more and more successful with its A330, Boeing decided to develop the 767 further up to the 767-400ER. The compared with the -300 over six metres stretched version is especially for charter airlines an interesting modell. The -400 got a completely new flight deck, as well as swept-back wingtips to strengthen the wings and for being still able to dock on gates constructed for DC-10 or TriStar. Launching customer was Delta Air Lines.
As Boeing has been focusing on its 787 'Dreamliner' recently, the days of the 767 are numbered. If any more 767 are ever being built, it will only be as tankers for the US Air Force.