30 Years of Cargo Facts: A New Narrowbody Arrives

Airbus A320 Air Canada

In March of 1990, Cargo Facts featured this photo of a brand-new Air Canada A320 in our regular Short Segments section. The A320 was still very new in those days, just two years after its first delivery.

The A320 project was launched in 1982 and became the first airliner to feature fly-by-wire controls. The very first A320 was rolled out of the factory on Valentine’s day, 1987, in front of many European dignitaries including Prince Charles and Princess Diana. Just over a year later, on February 26, 1988, the European Joint Aviation Authorities awarded certification. Deliveries began just a couple of weeks later, first of the -100 variant, and then of the -200 with the wingtip fences. -100 production ended after just 21 frames, but the A320 has become a common sight worldwide in the 23 years since introduction.

In our Short Segments, we were reporting on Air Canada’s receipt of its first A320s – ships number 59 and 73, which arrived in a three week period in January and February 1990. Originally intended for Ansett, Air Canada ended up picking up these A320s and is still using them. Pictured in a hangar at Vancouver International Airport, there was actually a cargo component to this news – Air Canada was introducing a cargo service for A320s using the LD-3-45 container, a Lexan box designed specifically to fit single file into the aft belly of an A320.

Air Canada used the A320s to replace Boeing 727s, ultimately operating 53 A320s as well as 48 A319s and 13 A321s. According to ACARS, this very A320, Ship 73, C-FDRH, flew from Toronto to Vancouver earlier today .

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