Airliner that made Airbus

That’s how we describe the A320, cover star of this week’s Flight International (12 March) and celebrating 25 years in service.

In a special feature package we trace the roots of the narrowbody, from its launch and first order from Air France in 1981 through its remarkable sales success in the 1990s and 2000s to the latest developments for the programme: the opening of Airbus’s first production facility on US soil and its evolution into the Neo. The package also include an interview with Airbus sales supremo John Leahy, whose career with the airframer more or less mirrors the span of the A320, and a reproduction of our original Harry Hopkins flight test from 1987.

We also report from Heli-Expo in Las Vegas, where the news included Bell’s confirmation that it is considering a product response to rival Robinson in the light, single-engine helicopter stakes, and the unveiling of an all-electric tiltrotor by AgustaWestland.

We have coverage of the Abu Dhabi Air Expo, at which local heroes Falcon Aviation Services and Royal Jet explained their expansion plans.

Meanwhile, David Todd looks at the quality problems taking their toll on Russia’s space launchers, we reveal the airlines that are eyeing Bombardier’s just-announced high-capacity CSeries and news on a fresh warning for the delayed F-35.

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