UNITED AIRLINES IS examining the possibility of extending the lives of its Boeing 727s in an effort to reduce fleet-renewal costs.

The carrier's work on head-up displays (HUDs) and enhanced-vision systems (EVS) has helped move it towards a life-extension decision. United has been increasingly voluble in its questioning of the worth of buying new aircraft at today's hefty prices.

In December, United will provide one 727 for flight trials of HUD/EVS equipment as part of the US Autonomous Landing Guidance programme.

A United official familiar with that programme says that the airline is looking at other cockpit upgrades and at hushkitting, or replacing, the type's Pratt & Whitney JT8D engines.

The official notes that the aircraft are mostly only about 15 years old and could be hushkitted for about $3 million each.

United has ordered Airbus A320s primarily as 727 replacements, but has still to confirm its options.

Source: Flight International