Two A318s equipped with "steep approach" capability are pioneering an innovative new all-business service for British Airways, operating the first long-haul flights between London City Airport and New York's JFK International Airport.
The A318's ability to land at steeper-than-usual gradients and its low noise characteristics make it ideal for operations at downtown airports like London City - which can be reached in just 10 minutes from the British capital's financial district. As a result, passengers avoid the long journey to Heathrow Airport, where the bulk of British Airways' transatlantic flights depart.
To mark the importance of this route - which was launched on 29 September - the mid-day outbound service was given the BA001 designation previously used for transatlantic flights of the supersonic Concorde. The new operations became double-daily this month using both of British Airways' A318s and operating under the BA001-004 numbering. Departures from London City are at mid-day and early evening, with return flights leaving John F. Kennedy International in the late evening and late night.
The A318s are configured with 32 seats that convert into fully-flat beds, and on-board connectivity is provided by the Airbus-SITA joint venture, OnAir. With OnAir, passengers can work during the flight via e-mail, web surfing and mobile phone text messaging.
As the largest commercial aircraft certified to land at steeper-than-usual gradients, the A318 has the potential to transform long-haul travel between city centre airports, building on British Airways' London City-New York experience.
British Airways' introduction of the A318 makes this carrier another Airbus customer that flies all four members of the A320 aircraft family: the A318, A319, A320 and A321. This enables the UK-based airline to benefit from the full advantages of operational and maintenance commonality within Airbus' single-aisle jetliner product line.