Aircraft By Type

Aircraft Make & Model:
Boeing 727-232 "Advanced Model"
184,200 lbs.
1,950 statute miles
566 mph
131 passengers (26 First, 105 Coach)
153 ft., 2 in.
108 ft.
34 ft.
3 Pratt & Whitney JT8D-15
HP or Thrust:
46,500 lbs.
No. flown by DL:
184 total: 21 Model -95 and -295; 163 Models -232, -232A, -247, -247A, -2Q8 and-225A
First Delivery:
1973 (Delta received earlier 727-95 and -295 models on August 1, 1972, when Northeast Airlines officially merged with Delta.)
First Scheduled Service:
Reason Aquired:
Ability to land on smaller airport runways and fly short-medium range routes.
Last Retirement:
April 6, 2003
Reason Disposed:
Simplify fleet and improve operational reliability.

Narrative:  Boeing 727 1972-2003

Delta started Boeing 727 operations with 21 Model -100s and early Model -200s acquired from Northeast Airlines merger with Delta on August 1, 1972.

Delta only flew one type of the Model -100: the Boeing 727-95 acquired from Northeast Airlines. Boeing assigned Northeast customer number "95."

It first flew for Northeast in December 1965 with 96 seats, which Delta modified to 97 seats after the 1972 merger. Model -100 retired from the Delta fleet in October 1977.

727-200 Fleet
"The 727 has a place in the Delta fleet for many years. It is popular with our passengers, and its modern, low-noise and fuel-efficient engines help us keep ticket prices down while being a good neighbor at the airports we serve."  Delta Vice President – Engineering Julian May, 1981

In 1981, Delta's 727-200 "stretched model" fleet numbered up to 129—the largest fleet in the world of this type of aircraft. Delta's 727s carried an average of 65,000 passengers and 600 tons of cargo, while flying 426,000 miles each day. In a year's time a typical Delta 727 logged 1,420,000 miles.

Notable 727-200s in Delta's fleet:
  • First Model -200 in the world to be placed into airline service (by Northeast Airlines on December 14, 1967).
  • 500th 727 produced by Boeing (delivered to Northeast).
  • 1,000th 727 produced by Boeing, January 1974.
Delta placed its first Boeing 727 order on March 29, 1972, for 14 of the -232 "advanced stretch" models.

Ship 546, the last 727-200 delivered to Delta, arrived from Boeing on November 12, 1981.

Delta flew at least 7 variations of the Model -200:
  • Model -295, acquired from Northeast Airlines in 1972 merger.
  • Models -232 and -232A, purchased by Delta.
  • Models -247, -247A and -2Q8, acquired from Western Airlines in 1987 merger.
  • Model -225A, acquired from Eastern Airlines
Model 727-232
Delta placed its first order in 1972, for 14 of the 727-232 "advanced stretch" jet, because its fuel efficiency, performance and range, fit well with Delta's route structure at the time.

With the planes' original configuration of 131 seats, Delta could increase capacity on flights to and from Washington, DC-National and New York's LaGuardia, which were closed to four-engined aircraft.

It could fly to smaller cities on Delta's system that did not produce the traffic to justify service with four-engined equipment.

The 727-232 replaced Delta's less efficient Convair 880, early Douglas DC-8 and smaller DC-9 aircraft.

"The Boeing 727 served as an elegant and durable workhorse of Delta's fleet for more than 30 years. It was a vital part of our company's growth."

Delta President and Chief Operating Officer Frederick W. Reid, 2003

In March 1999, Delta announced an agreement with United Technologies Corporation to sell 119 Pratt & Whitney JT8D-15/15A-powered Boeing 727-200 aircraft and up to 39 associated spare engines over the next six years. The aircraft and engines were to be sold as they retired from Delta's fleet under the airline's 727 retirement schedule.

Delta was the last major U.S. carrier to fly the Boeing 727. Delta's last commercial 727 flight was Greensboro, NC, to Atlanta on Sunday, April 6, 2003.

More Information

  •  Boeing.comDevelopment and specifications of the 727


  • Parade of Delta 727-200
  • Boeing 727 Prototype - "First Flights" - 1963 & 1964
  • RARE! Delta Air Lines Boeing 727-232/Adv w/ Winglets
  • Delta Boeing 727-200 Landing at LAX (Old Paint)