Classic A320s: A Wishlist 1987-95
Just for the A320 alone there have been over 750 models made and moulds from almost every manufacturer, from the awful (Dragon Wings and Aviation400) to the awesome (Aeroclassics and Panda), have graced our collections. But that doesn't mean coverage is particularly good especially for years before 1:400s started rolling off the production line.
I can still remember being super-excited one day at the tail end of the 1980s as I sat by the side of the runway at Gatwick with my dad when I saw something I couldn’t quite identify coming in to land. Usually I could identify everything from not long after you could see the landing lights on approach but it wasn’t until near touchdown that I tweaked that this was my first ever A320 in the colours of British Airways.
In later years the A320 family has become so ubiquitous that it is easy to forget that the programme’s success was far from a certainty. By 1995 production was well into the 500s and the A320 was proving the match for the 737 Classic line and MD-80/90.
It is therefore surprising how many A320s are yet to be made representing often major or historically significant airlines from the first 8 years of production. Panda not long ago made a house colours series 100 but that is just scratching the surface. Here are 26 others crying out to be made:
British airlines were early adopters of the A320 with British Caledonian being one of the launch customers for the type (of course they were taken over by BA who reluctantly became launch customer). A single A320 did appear in BCal colours:
UK charter airlines also widely used the A320 in the early 90s starting with Excalibur Airways who were the first UK charter airline to operate the type. They received the first of 5 in April 1992:
The type was subsequently used by several other charter airlines prior to 1995:
There has been decent coverage of some early European operators like Lufthansa, Air Inter, Air Malta and Iberia but still there are obvious missing candidates. Even launch customer Air France hasn't got a series 100 release:
The A320 broke into the US market surprisingly quickly with Northwest Airlines but also the 2nd Braniff, which took only four of its large order in 1989 before it went bankrupt. Jet-X had made a version of the model before but it’s on a terrible mould.
The bulk of the Braniff order then went on quickly to America West including many aircraft Braniff never took up:
The type also saw use in smaller numbers with the reborn Midway Airlines and the charter airline Leisure Air:
Moving South and airlines using acronyms in Costa Rica and Ecuador both used early A320s:
AFRICA / MIDDLE EAST
The A320 found its way into the fleets of several of the smaller Arabic national airlines across North Africa and the Middle East:
Flitestar was the first new South African airline to challenge SAA in the new era of deregulation and began operations on October 16, 1991 with 4 A320s. Unfortunately it only lasted until April 1994 but nonetheless has an important place in South African aviation history and was the first A320 operator in Africa:
Indian Airlines famously took its first selection of A320s with double bogey and nobody so far has modified their A320 mould to replicate one of these unusual aircraft (although Aeroclassics has done a single bogey release):
Elsewhere the A320 found a home from Sri Lanka to Vietnam, whilst there are stull early Chinese A320s that have not been made:
There's plenty of fertile ground to be found in these 26 possibilities, most of which are for well known extant flag carriers or historically important smaller airlines.
I'm Richard Stretton, an aviation enthusiast and major collector of 400 scale model aircraft. This blog discusses ongoing events in the world of 400 scale.
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