An Airbus A318 powered by CFM International CFM56-5 engines successfully performed a series of compatibility tests, including steep approaches, at London City Airport on Saturday 28th October, demonstrating the aircraft's good neighbour characteristics. The trials complement those previously carried out in May at London City with a Pratt & Whitney PW6000A-powered Airbus A318.
Approval for London City Airport operations will make the A318 the latest generation airliner in the 100-seat class to be able to operate out of the airport. With the widest and most comfortable cabin of any single-aisle airliner, the A318 will bring higher comfort to business routes operating out of the airport, help to develop the airport's business and contribute to stimulating local employment.
The Airbus A318 Elite was crewed by Captain Ed Strongman, Airbus Experimental Test Pilot and pilots from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), with Stéphane Vaux as Airbus Flight Test Engineer.
Airports such as London-City are constrained by obstacles and tough noise-rules. In successfully demonstrating steep approaches - an approach path at an angle of 5.5 degrees instead of the three degrees typical at most airports - the Airbus A318 has shown that it can meet these constraints, confirming its ability to be an extremely good neighbour at downtown sites. The aircraft undertook a number of landings, including several missed approaches and ground manoeuvring exercises, including turning on the runway.
The A318 is part of the popular Airbus A320 Family which ranges from the 100-seat A318 up to the 185 seat A321. Extensive commonality makes the A318 a natural and easy addition to an A320 Family fleet, enabling airlines to open routes to new destinations with a smaller aircraft that gives passengers the same high level of comfort.
Airbus Steep Approach capability will also be available in all Airbus A318 Elite aircraft - the corporate jet version - and will be easy to fit on all A318 commercial aircraft. It is planned to achieve Steep Approach Certification for both the Pratt & Whitney PW6000A and the CFM56-5 powered A318 variants during 2007.
Airbus is an EADS company.