FedEx retires last domestic 727 freighter - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

FedEx retires last domestic 727 freighter

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MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - It is the end of an era for one FedEx plane. A retirement party was held for the company's last domestic 727 freighter.

The 727F aircraft did a flyover before touching down for the last time at the FedEx Express World Hub in Memphis.

More than 1,000 company executives and other team members were there to celebrate the historic and final flight for the 727.

"It was a turning point in our history," FedEx Founder Fred Smith said about the 727 retired Friday. He said the plane and a slew of company executives helped turn a startup company into Memphis' largest private employer. "A longtime employee told one of our communications folks, 'You know that day when I saw us get the 727, I knew FedEx was going to make it.'"

The company would eventually fly more than 160 of the planes, shipping packages all across the U.S, Canada, South America, and Europe. Smith called it the mainstay of the fleet as the company grew to what it is now.

"It was my first airplane as captain," said Paul Cassel, how is now the senior vice president of flight operations. He says the use of the 727 was a pillar for FedEx. "This was the turning point and seeing it go after 35 years, bittersweet."

He continued, "We say farewell to this workhorse that carried us for so many years."

FedEx plans to roll out a new 767 later this year.

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