Pan American Airways is taking delivery of 24 Boeing 727-200s from United Airlines to support expansion plans outside the USA.

United accelerated retirement of its 75 remaining 727s after 11 September, and the aircraft for Pan Am are being removed from desert storage in Victorville, California, for delivery at a rate of one a week.

Portsmouth, New Hampshire-based Pan Am operates six 727-200s on low-fare services within the USA and to Puerto Rico. Nine of the ex-United aircraft will be cannibalised for spares, but the company is not revealing where the other 15 will be operated. "We have plans to fly them in the near future," says senior vice president John Nadolny.

As part of the deal, its terms undisclosed, United has sold its three remaining 727 full-flight simulators and a cockpit procedures trainer to Pan Am. They will be delivered to Orlando Sanford airport, Florida, where Pan Am is setting up a flight training centre.

Nadolny says Pan Am's parent company, Guilford Transportation, has no plans to acquire more 727s. The aircraft, built between 1978 and 1980, are the newest of 67 owned and eight leased 727s United planned to retire over three years. Instead, it retired them over three months after 11 September.

Source: Flight International