Home Classic Airliners Who Flew the Boeing 727 in Europe?

Who Flew the Boeing 727 in Europe?

by Matt Falcus

The Boeing 727 was one of the first airliners to experience great success and over a thousand airframes built.

It was developed in the early 1960s as Boeing looked to follow up the success of the 707 and 720 with a smaller airliner that was able to operate on short- and medium-haul routes, particularly on domestic services across America where airports often had smaller runways and passenger loads did not justify a 707.

These routes were still largely populated by older piston-engine airliners, with airliners ready to make the switch to jet aircraft.

However, aside from its widespread use in America, the Boeing 727 also saw significant success around the world.

In Europe, many mainline and leisure carriers opted for the 727 to bolster their fleets and offer the latest in comfort and speed to passengers, and the type soldiered on into the late 1990s in some cases.

Here are the key airlines in Europe which flew the Boeing 727:

 

Air France

ZURICH JUNE 1991 AIR FRANCE BOEING 727 F-BPJS

The French national carrier flew 29 of the larger 727-200 model between 1968 and 1992, until the Airbus A320 took over.

 

Air Charter International

MilborneOne, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

This French charter airline leased four 727-200s from Air France between 1972-1995.

 

Alitalia

Alitalia Boeing 727-243; I-DIRS, May 1979

Italy’s national airline also opted for the 727-200, flying them on domestic, European and African services over a relatively short period between 1977 and 1985.

 

Aviogenex

MANCHESTER 20 MAY 1988 AVIOGENEX BOEING 727 YU-AKH

One of the main Yugoslavian charter airlines, Aviogenex flew five Boeing 727-200s, with the first two arriving in 1983. They were retired in the 1990s.

 

Condor

Pedro Aragão, CC BY-SA 3.0 GFDL, via Wikimedia Commons

Germany’s principal charter airline, affiliated with Lufthansa for much of its life, flew both the 727-100 and -200 on its leisure services.

Seven -100s operated from 1966 to 1982, while eight -200s flew between 1973-1989.

 

Dan-Air London

The British scheduled and leisure airline was the first in the country to operate the 727, and it necessitated modifications to the airframes to satisfy certification requirements. It flew both the 727-100 and -200, with the first arriving in 1973, and some still being flown when the airline merged with British Airways in 1992.

 

European Air Transport

Boeing 727 223F OO-DHU DHL EBBR 01092003

The Belgian cargo airline, operating as part of DHL, flew 727-100 freighters from 1990-2003, and -200 freighters from 1994-2003.

 

Hapag-Lloyd

D-AHLM

The German leisure airline which today is a part of the TUI group previously flew Boeing 727s on its charter routes. It operated seven 727-100s and three -200s during the 1970s and 80s.

 

Iberia

EC-CFA B727 Iberia Lanzarote 17-04-2001

Spain’s national airline had a strong association with the Boeing 727. It only ever flew the -200 model, but these were the mainstay of its domestic and European network from 1972 until the last was retired in 2001. It was common to see them at many airports.

 

Icelandair

TF-FLI - Boeing B-727-208A Icelandair ARN 220989

Icelandair’s first venture into jet aircraft was the Boeing 727-100 in 1966, replacing older Douglas DC-4, DC-6 and Vickers Viscount airliners.

The airline also flew the 727-200 between 1980-1990. A total of five 727s across both variants were flown.

 

JAT Yugoslav Airlines

Aero Icarus from Zürich, Switzerland, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

The national carrier of the former Yugoslavia flew the Boeing 727-200 between 1970 and 2005 (when the airline was latterly the national carrier of Serbia).

 

Lufthansa

Steve Fitzgerald (GFDL 1.2 <http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html>, GFDL 1.2 <http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html> or GFDL 1.2 <http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html>), via Wikimedia Commons

The German national carrier used an extensive fleet of Boeing 727s from 1964 until 1993.

It flew both the 727-100 and -200, with some 57 examples in total flown by the airline on its domestic and European services.

The arrival of more Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 family aircraft saw the 727 retired in the 1990s.

 

Olympic Airlines

SX-CBB

Greece’s national airline used the Boeing 727 as a gap between its larger 707s and smaller 737s, with two 727-100s operated initially, followed by ten larger -200s.

 

Sabena

OO-STC_1972_MUC_1200_NK

The former national airline of Belgium flew six 727-100s from 1967-78, and a single -200 in 1997, however it focussed more on its 737 fleet which became the mainstay of its European services.

 

Sterling Airways

BIRMINGHAM 09 SEPTEMBER 1993 STERLING AIRWAYS BOEING 727 OY-SBG

The Danish charter airline Sterling Airways used three Boeing 727-200s during the 1970s, 80s and early 90s on higher capacity routes, with its Sud Aviation Caravelles used on thinner routes.

 

TAP Air Portugal

FRANKFURT OCTOBER 1989 TAP AIR PORTUGAL BOEING 727 CS-TBY

Another European national carrier, TAP Air Portugal, flew the Boeing 727-100 and -200 – the former between 1967 and 1989, and the latter from 1975 to 1991.

Some of the aircraft were leased to leisure partner carrier Air Atlantis in 1986.

 

Transair Sweden

Ken Rose (GFDL 1.2 <http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html> or GFDL 1.2 <http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html>), via Wikimedia Commons

This Swedish charter airline flew four Boeing 727-100s from 1967 for a few years.

 

Turkish Airlines

ZURICH 23 JUN 1991 TURKISH BOEING 727 TC-JBF

Before its large Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 family fleets were introduced, Turkish Airlines relied on its 14 Boeing 727-200s for much of its European and Middle Eastern network. They were added to the fleet in the 1970s and retired in 1996.

 

Other European Boeing 727 Operators

Air Alfa, Turkey

DUSSELDORF JULY 1994 AIR ALFA BOEING 727 TC-ALK

Flew two 727-200s.

 

Air Commerce, Yugoslavia

Single 727-200 leased from JAT in 1991.

 

Air Holland, Netherlands

Flew three 727-200s from 1985-88.

 

Air Malta, Malta

Flew 727-200s in the 1980s.

 

Albatros Airlines, Turkey

Flew one 727-200 from 1992-93.

 

Birgenair, Turkey

Another Turkish charter airline. It flew two 727-200s in 1994.

 

Cyprus Turkish Airlines, North Cyprus

Kibris Turkish Airlines Boeing 727-228; TC-JEC@ZRH;11.08.1995

A charter airline operating from the Turkish side of Cyprus, known as KTHY. It flew four Boeing 727-200s.

 

Germania, Germany

This German airline leased two 727-100s from Hapag-Lloyd in 1978, but they didn’t last long.

 

Istanbul Airlines, Turkey

A Turkish leisure airline. It flew 727-200s in the 1980s and 90s.

 

Jetair, Germany

Felix Goetting (GFDL 1.2 <http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html> or GFDL 1.2 <http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html>), via Wikimedia Commons

An airline that only lasted a year, from 1984-85, was Jetair, based at Munich. It flew a single 727-100.

 

Sabre Airways

A British charter airline. Founded in 1994 it flew a fomer Dan-Air 727-200 from 1995.

 

Sobelair

The leisure arm of Belgian national carrier Sabena, Sobelair flew Boeing 727s briefly in 1995-96.

 

Sultan Air, Turkey

Sultan Air was a leisure airline based in Turkey. It flew two 727-200s from 1989-93.

 

TUR European Airlines, Turkey

During the 1990s it was common to see the four 727-200s of this charter airline at airports in Germany an the UK. It closed down in 1994.

 

 

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Our book of nostalgic photographs of lost airlines and former colour schemes of airlines from across Europe includes pictures of Boeing 727s, as well as many other classic types.

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