Aviation Week has learned that FedEx plans to end 727 operations on July 1, 2013, ending 35 years of operation by the carrier.
FedEx acquired its first 727 in 1978 and has flown the type continuously since then. FedEx acquired its last 727 in 1993 and operated 167 of the type at its peak that year.
Aviation Week has also learned that two 727s (N469FE and N482FE, both 1978 models) are tentatively scheduled to be flying the last flights.
FedEx had the distinction of receiving the last 15 727s off the production line, which were also the only pure-freighter 727s that Boeing built. The last 727 off the production line, N217FE, was sold by FedEx in late 2012 and unfortunately isn't a candidate for the all-too-fitting last flight honors.
An old and faded publicity shot. Credit: FedEx
A line of FedEx 727s on a quiet Sunday afternoon in Memphis in 1980. Note the rare FedEx 737-200s on the left. Credit: Bob Bostick