Especially when Acker was broomed and Plaskett was brought in, and the business plan was shifted to emphasize Miami (which should have been done in 1980), PAA did indeed acquire a lot of used 727s. But rewinding to 1980 and 1981, I can remember clearly taking a shuttle bug from SEA
-TAC to downtown Seattle, looking over at Boeing Field, and seeing three brand new 727-200s with the original blue stripe Pan Am colors ready for delivery to Pan Am. At that time, they had acquired the National birds but still had orders at Boeing for newer 727s that were to be used in the Latin American Division, and subsequently were. My old JP
Fleet books from the time are interesting, as you see the old pre-NAL Pan Am 727-100s with original PAA registrations, then the National mix of 100s and 200s with their N4700, et. al. numbers.
During the early and mid 1980s, as Acker conceived routes on the fly and just as quickly dropped them all over the domestic map (maybe a hangover from his Braniff and Air Florida mentality), the 727-100s of PAA and NAL vintage dropped out of the fleet until they were almost exclusively flying the Acker "Air Bridge" from TPA
on an hourly basis. At the same time, he picked up the used 737-200s from his frau's friend's leasing company (don't ask) to use on the IGS (German) routes and, then, returned them to Miami for short haul routes there and, incredibly, LAX
(the ex-Air Florida and French dinosaurs ... great interiors ... ugh!)
Once sane planners got their hands back on the system, and the one Acker move that made money, the LGA
shuttle was online and working, the company grabbed ex-Deutsche Lufthansa 727s for the shuttle, which were actually well maintained (naturally) aircraft. On top of that, a number of ex-Braniff 200s were available and leased, along with quite a few ex-Eastern 200s. The 727 fleet doubled in size and it was interesting to catalog all the new reg. numbers appearing which ended in "E" (ex-EAL) or had new PAA regs (ex-BN) that were in the N300PA series. The ex-DLH ships had regs that ended in "UM" (N877UM, etc.). Our occasional trips into JFK
in silverbirds were always interesting when one would sit waiting for departure behind a zillion PAA 727s all wearing that billboard livery.
So, yes, there were a lot of latter-day PAA 727s running around from 1987 or so until the end. Which also reminds me, having moved back to Miami by then, of taxiing out on winter days to the then 27-Right and seeing, first, the EAL demise and all their ships lined up on the north side of the field, crammed around their hangars (which have now been torn down for the new runway) but, then, a year or so later, the double shock of the billboard Pan Am 747s, A-busses and 727s crowded around the old NAL washing machine hangar and base on the south side of the runway. I can clearly recall waiting on a 767 to depart for SFO
on flight 1539 one afternoon in January and seeing the 747 "China Clipper II
" looking right at me just sitting there on the tarmac while we waited for clearance. It was very sad.