The first Airbus A318 Elite, complete with VIP cabin, has been handed over to Zurich-based VVIP charter company Comlux, marking the start of a new era in the evolution of the Airbus Corporate Jetliner (ACJ) Family.
Completed by Airbus-approved outftitter Lufthansa Technik, the A318 Elite brings the highest levels of corporate jet cabin-comfort and space - pioneered by the Airbus ACJ and A320 Prestige - to a smaller aircraft size, making them more accessible to a wider market.
Being both assembled and outfitted in Hamburg, the Airbus A318 Elite features a high German content - as does the Airbus ACJ, which is also assembled there.
Comlux's A318 Elite - the first of five on order - features seating for up to 18 passengers in four separate cabin-zones, giving passengers unmatched privacy, space and ease of movement around the cabin. The zones include a lounge, dining/workspace, private office/bedroom and entourage/crew area. Comlux's A318 Elite is powered by CFM International CFM56-5 engines.
Airbus' A318 Elite has the range to link cities within America, Asia and Europe, as well as the range to connect Europe with America and the Middle East.
"When you are in the business of providing comfort and space to a discerning clientele, you want the best in the business to provide it, which is what we now have with the Airbus A318 Elite," says Comlux President and CEO Ettore Rodaro. "We are delighted to be the first to introduce these new standards to corporate jet travellers with the Airbus A318 Elite, and look forward to getting more of them."
Launched in autumn 2005, the Airbus A318 Elite made its first flight in October 2006, and has won more than 30 orders and commitments to date. Firm orders for the Airbus ACJ Family, which comprises the A318 Elite, ACJ and A320 Prestige, now stand at over 80 aircraft, and are increasingly the preferred choice at the upper end of the market for top-of-the-line corporate jets.
"One of Airbus' greatest strengths is its modern aircraft family, which we keep young and dynamic by regularly introducing new models, such as the Airbus A318 Elite," comments Airbus Chief Operating Officer Customers John Leahy. "We already have a reputation for creating innovative airliners, and the Airbus ACJ Family is rapidly extending it into corporate jets," he adds.
Derived from the world-leading Airbus A320 Family, which has won more than 5,000 orders and has almost 250 customers and operators to its credit, the Airbus ACJ Family features a VIP cabin, extra fuel-tanks for intercontinental range, a higher cruise altitude of 41,000 ft, and built-in airstairs.
With its excellent take-off and landing performance, the Airbus ACJ Family already takes off and lands in the same distance as other top-of-the-line corporate jets. That of the A318 Elite is being further enhanced by steep-approach certification, which will facilitate flights to airports constrained by noise rules and obstacles.
Airbus is an EADS company.