FedEx has officially retired Boeing
727 planes from its fleet of air freighters, conducting the last domestic flight with a 727 last week.
The company began retiring 727s in 2007, and shortly thereafter began an accelerated modernization program, introducing the more modern Boeing
757 aircraft into its fleet. FedEx first began flying 727s in 1978, and is now donating them to collegiate aviation programs throughout the U.S. for training purposes.
In the fall, FedEx will begin taking delivery of new Boeing 767s to replace its aging fleet of MD-10 freighters. The company is looking to reduce its aircraft carbon emissions by 30 percent by the year 2020, and expects to be using alternative jet fuel for 30 percent of its operations by 2030.
“The 727 was a mainstay aircraft and one of the most dependable we ever had in our fleet. More importantly, it was the plane that really put FedEx on the map as an overnight express carrier,” said Capt. Chip Groner, a 35-year FedEx crew member. “It’s the end of an era, but it’s only natural because of changing technology that improves the fuel and operational efficiencies of today’s new aircraft. The 727, for many pilots, will always be the airplane that really brought the airline industry into the jet age.”
Related: Aviation Today's Checklist