For my review of the sister series Airline Markings see:
As with Airline Markings the Air Portfolios series was a regular sight, in the UK at least, in bookshops and latterly at second-hand shops. The series does appear to be a direct predecessor to the later Airline Markings since the entire run was authored by Paul R Smith who was also responsible for the earliest editions of the later series.
The series ran to six hardback volumes published between October 1986 and December 1987 by Janes Publishing Company Ltd in the UK. Interestingly they cover a rather eclectic set of aircraft, for example there is only one widebody family within the group and no 747 or DC-10.
Especially nice is the focus that regional types get with one third of the set dedicated to them. Indeed, as in the Airline Markings series the issues on the Shorts 330/360 and DHC-6/7/8 are the most interesting since these smaller types are regularly rather ignored in print. The regional aircraft market at the time was also growing strongly and in a transitional phase from largely independent commuter airlines to franchisees tied closely to parent airlines.
Although there were six volumes it does seem that there was no great intent to continue to produce volume after volume since each set covers multiple variants of its selected aircraft type. There is for example not individual copies dedicated to the Douglas DC-9 and McDonnell Douglas MD-80, as there are in the later Airline Markings set. Instead the two related types are joined together.
The format of the books follows quite closely to that of the later Airline Markings but is less standardised. The books are landscape and 64 pages long. Each example of the aircraft type in question for a chosen airline gets a colour image of its own. The image usually takes up half to three quarters of a page although some are full page.
The text for each airline typically covers a short history of the airline with brief discussion of the route network and fleet. Unlike the Airline Markings books the livery is not discussed.
The series is another classy and attractive look at the airline scene during the 1980s (a time well before the internet made aircraft photos easy to come by) which I have found useful for reference especially in relation to wishlist creation.
I'm Richard Stretton: a fan of 1/400 scale model aircraft and airports. This blog reports work on my model airport dioramas and discussion of the model manufacturers output.