British Airways has signed a firm contract with Airbus for two Airbus A318 aircraft to launch services between London City Airport, in central London, and New York. The A318 is the most modern and largest aircraft certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for the steep approach procedures which are required at London City.
British Airways' order for the smallest member of the A320 Family boosts the number of customers for the A318 to 13. British Airways already operates 70 A320 Family aircraft and has an additional 20 on order in addition to a recent order for 12 A380 aircraft.
"The A318 is the perfect aircraft for these flights. It is capable of operating at London City and is large enough for us to provide the number of business class seats required to make this a viable operation", says Willie Walsh, British Airways' Chief Executive.
All A318 models were certified for Steep Approach in 2007 after compatibility tests at London City Airport in 2006.
"The A318 shares the same wide cabin as other members of the A320 Family, and offers by far the greatest level of cabin comfort of any aircraft able to fly from London City or similar inner city airports. The aircraft also offers more range, which allows operators to offer new exciting route combinations", said John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer Customers.
City centre airports are typically constrained by shorter runways, high building and stringent noise constraints. The A318 can land on very short runways and the steep approach procedure enables a 5.5 degree descent angle rather than the standard 3 degrees. The A318 also climbs and reaches cruising altitude quicker than any other aircraft operating out of London City and with significantly reduced noise than previous generation aircraft, making the A318 ideal for city centre operations.
The A320 Family, which includes the A318, A319, A320 and A321, is recognised as the benchmark single-aisle aircraft family. Each aircraft features fly by wire controls and all share a unique cockpit and operational commonality across the range. Over 6,100 Airbus A320 Family aircraft have been sold and over 3400 delivered to more than 275 customer and operators worldwide, making it the worlds best selling commercial jetliner ever. With proven reliability and extended servicing periods, the A320 Family has the lowest operating costs of any single aisle aircraft. In addition, the latest new cabin design saves on weight and offers the passenger a quieter and roomier experience as well as significantly larger overhead stowage lockers.
Airbus is an EADS company.