September 10, 1979 12:00 PM

To the people behind Airports 1,2 and 3, all planes are just hunks of metal to stuff with second-echelon stars and then rip apart piece by piece. Aboard in this episode of America’s longest-running miniseries are Alain Delon, Susan Blakely, Andrea Marcovicci, Eddie Albert, Cicely Tyson, Sylvia Kristel, John Davidson, Jimmie Walker and scads more, including George Kennedy, who appeared in 1969’s original Airport, Airport ’75 and ’77 and should know by this time to take the boat. The story concerns a weapons manufacturer, Robert Wagner, who wants to destroy a Washington-to-Moscow Concorde to eliminate evidence of illegal arms sales. He spares no implausibility—including finding a jet fighter for hire—in the process. There’s rapport between pilots Delon and Kennedy, and Martha Raye niftily handles a silly bit about a weak-bladdered passenger. But the crises fly too fast and furiously for tension to build and the toy plane special effects are feeble. These films, once airborne, have nowhere to go but down. (PG)

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