Airbus A320: European narrow-body jet airliner

Airbus A320 (F-WWAI)

When Airbus designed the A300 during the late 1960s and early 1970s, it envisaged a broad family of airliners with which to compete against Boeing and Douglas (later McDonnell Douglas), two established US aerospace manufacturers.

From the moment of formation, Airbus had begun studies into derivatives of the Airbus A300B in support of this long-term goal. Prior to the service introduction of the first Airbus airliners, engineers within Airbus had identified nine possible variations of the A300 known as A300B1 to B9. A 10th variation, conceived in 1973, later the first to be constructed, was designated the A300B10.

It was a smaller aircraft which would be developed into the long-range Airbus A310. Airbus then focused its efforts on the single-aisle market, which was dominated by the 737 and McDonnell Douglas DC-9.

Plans from a number of European aircraft manufacturers called for a successor to the relatively successful BAC One-Eleven, and to replace the 737-200 and DC-9.

Germany’s MBB (Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm), British Aircraft Corporation, Sweden’s Saab and Spain‘s CASA worked on the EUROPLANE, a 200 seat aircraft. It was abandoned after intruding on A310 specifications. VFW-Fokker, Dornier and Hawker Siddeley worked on a number of 150 seat designs.

Previously, Hawker Siddeley had produced a design called the HS.134 “Airbus” in 1965, an evolution of the HS.121 (formerly DH.121) Trident, which shared much of the general arrangement of the later JET3 study design. The name “Airbus” at the time referred to a BEA requirement, rather than to the later international programme.

Aeroscopia (Toulouse)

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