Air Transport World

Airbus A320 comes together.

Airbus A320 comes together Toulouse--The first A320 150-seat airliner is beginning to come together at the Airbus Industrie assembly center here, with sections arriving from the factories of the Airbus partners in Great Britain, Spain and West Germany. First flight is scheduled for 12 months from now, followed by in-service in spring 1988.

This will be with the U.S.-French CFM International CFM56-5 engine, as ordered by Air France, Air Inter, British Caledonian, Ansett and GATX Air. The alternative engine, the V2500, being developed by the International Aero Engines group (U.S.-Britain-West Germany-Italy-Japan), is likely to power the 22nd aircraft on the line in the fall of 1988 for service in spring of 1989. Orders for the V2500-powered A320 have so far come from Cyprus Airways, Pan Am, Inex Adria, Lufthansa, Indian Airlines and TAA.

Both CFM and IAE are working on upratied versions of their powerplants for the 200 series of the A320 which will be available, according to Airbus, from fall 1988. This will carry additional fuel in its wing center section, and will have a maximum take-off weight of 158,700 lbs. and a range of 3,200 nm, compared with 145,500 lbs. and 1,900 nm for the series 100.

Airbus has slated four production-standard airplanes for flight test, and aims to certificate to 15,700 lbs. standard from the beginning of the program. Initial flight-test program will last 2,200 flight hours, at the end of which at least two of the test aircraft will be refurbished for airline use.

Adam Brown, Airbus VP-marketing, told ATW, "Industrially, everything is running on time so far, with 97% of the vendor equipment selected. This first airplane will be the 66 tonne airplane, but we have brought forward the introduction of the 72 tonne version, originally due at the end of 1988, to November of that year. Several of our customers have already taken it, and my guess is that almost everybody in the future will opt for the 72 tonne airplane, because it gives more flexibility. First airlines to receive the A320 will be Air France and British Caledonian, and we are wondering whether we should have a joint hand-over ceremony. …

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