The 727 has proved very successful with airlines world-wide because of its capability of landing in smaller runways while flying medium range routes. This effectively allowed airlines to attract passengers from cities with large populations but smaller airports to worldwide touristic destinations.
Even as the 747s came about during 1970, international airlines worldwide still needed the 727. Many of the airlines were from medium to large sized countries and needed to transport their passengers to the larger communities where they would catch the bigger airliners for their international flights.
In addition to that, the 727 proved extremely popular because the range of flights it could cover meant that the 727 would prove efficient for short to medium range international flights in places like Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia North America, the Caribbean, Central America and South America.
The 727 also has proved popular with cargo airlines and charter airlines. Federal Express began the cargo airline revolution in 1975 utilizing 727s. Many cargo airlines worldwide now employ the 727 as a work horse. Other companies use the 727 as a way to transport passengers to their resorts or cruise ships. Such was the example of Carnival Cruise Lines[?], which used both the 727 and 737 to fly both regular flights and flights to transport their passengers to cities that harbored their ships.
In the 1970s the 727 had some crashes, but technological improvements were made and it's been a long time since a 727 has been at fault for an airline accident.
Today, the 727 is still flying for major airlines as well as for smaller, start-up ones, cargo airlines, and charter airlines, and it's also becoming increasingly popular as a private means of transportation.
Major airlines that have flown the jet include Delta Airlines, Mexicana, Air France, American, Eastern Airlines, Viasa, Pan Am, Air Canada, Dominicana, Iberia, Avianca, Aerolineas Argentinas, British Airways, Lufthansa, ANA, Australian Airlines, Copa[?], Fed Ex and, among Charter Airlines, Carnival Airlines[?] and Hapag Lloyd. In addition to that, the USPS uses the type to fly mail from city to city every day.
On June 18, 2003, a 727 formely used by American was stolen from Luanda's international airport in Angola. According to the AOL News, most intelligence agents believe the missing plane to be in the hands of terrorists or drug dealers.