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Information about Airbus A318.

The Airbus A318 is the smallest member of the Airbus A320 family of short- to medium-range, narrow-body, commercial passenger twin-engine jet airliners manufactured by Airbus.[b] The A318 carries up to 132 passengers and has a maximum range of 3,100 nmi (5,700 km; 3,600 mi).[3] Final assembly of the aircraft took place in Hamburg, Germany. It is intended primarily for short-range service, although British Airways uses the aircraft on a London City Airport to New York-JFK Airport transatlantic route (albeit with a stopover in Shannon for refueling on the westbound leg).

The aircraft shares a common type rating with all other Airbus A320 family variants, allowing existing Airbus A320 family pilots to fly the aircraft without the need for further training. It is the largest commercial aircraft certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency for steep approach operations, allowing flights at airports such as London City.

The Airbus A318 entered service in July 2003 with Frontier Airlines. Relative to other Airbus A320 family variants, it has sold in only small numbers with total orders for 80 aircraft placed, with the order book currently being empty.

Design of Airbus A318

The Airbus A318 is a small commercial, narrow-body (single-aisle) aircraft with a retractable tricycle landing gear and is powered by two wing pylon-mounted turbofan engines. Two suppliers provide turbofan engines for the A318, CFM International with the CFM56-5B engine and Pratt & Whitney with the PW6000 engine. It is a low-wing cantilever monoplane with a conventional tail unit having a single vertical stabilizer and rudder.

Overall, the A318 is over six metres shorter and around 3 t (6,600 lb) lighter than the A320. To compensate for the reduced moment arm, it has a larger vertical stabiliser. While initial concepts depicted the aircraft with a Boeing 737-300-style dorsal fin extension, the final design incorporated a fin tip extension, making it 75 centimetres (30 in) taller than the other A320 variants. Pilots who are trained on the other variants may fly the A318 with no further certification, since it features a common flight deck and the same type rating as its sister aircraft. The A318 is also referred to as the A318-100.

The A318 is available with a variety of different maximum take-off weights (MTOW) ranging from a 59 tonnes (58 long tons; 65 short tons), 2,750 kilometres (1,480 nmi) base model to a 68 tonnes (67 long tons; 75 short tons), 6,000 kilometres (3,200 nmi) version. When equipped with CFM56-5B8/P engines, the A318 is available with a 123,000 lb. MTOW or a 150,000 lb. MTOW. When equipped with CFM56-5B9/P engines, the A318 is available with a 130,000 lb. MTOW or a 150,000 lb. MTOW.

The lower MTOW enables it to operate regional routes economically while sacrificing range and the higher MTOW allows it to complement other members of the A320 family on marginal routes. The lighter weight of the A318 gives it an operating range 10% greater than the A320, allowing it to serve some routes that the A320 would be unable to: London – New York, Perth–Auckland and Singapore–Tokyo, for instance. Its main use for airlines, however, is on short, low-density hops between medium-sized cities.

In March 2006, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certified a modified control software enhancement to the Airbus A318 designed to allow the aircraft to perform steep approaches. The aircraft is the largest commercial aircraft certified by EASA for steep approach operations. The software modifies the control laws of the aircraft when the steep approach function is selected by the crew, by automatically deploying some of the spoiler panels to provide additional drag when the aircraft is in the landing configuration. It also provides alternative aural alerts to the crew and modifies spoiler deployment automatically below 120 feet (37 m) on landing. The A318 steep approach procedure allows the aircraft to perform approaches at descent angles of up to 5.5°, as opposed to the standard 3° for a normal approach.

A test flight was conducted in May 2006 to prove the aircraft's steep approach and short runway performance by landing at London City Airport, where such steep approaches are required. The test flight also confirmed the aircraft's compatibility with the limited maneuvering and parking space at that airport. Subsequently, in August 2009.

Airbus delivered the first A318 with steep approach capability to British Airways, which began operating the route the following month, eventually having two such aircraft capable of flights between London City Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. On the westbound leg from London, a stopover is necessary for refueling, which occurs at Shannon Airport, Ireland because weight restrictions are necessary in order to take off within the existing short runway length of London City Airport. On the eastbound leg from New York this limitation is not present and the aircraft can take all the fuel needed for the transatlantic route to London. As of November 2017, only one aircraft is serving the route, operated in a 32-seat all-business-class configuration.


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