Airbus' Corporate Jetliner (ACJ) Family has just grown bigger, with the introduction of a new member, the A318 Elite, based on the company's smallest airliner.

With the same wide cabin as the rest of the popular Airbus A320 Family, the A318 Elite makes big-jet comfort and style even more affordable, complementing the Airbus ACJ in the middle of the family and the A320 Prestige at the top-end. The Airbus A318 Elite will thus serve as an entry-level airliner to the Airbus ACJ Family.

Airbus still expects most demand for business jets of Airbus ACJ-size, but can now offer an even more affordable alternative for customers that are happy with a shorter cabin and less range. It continues to be driven by its customers' needs, offering a truly modern solution with full commonality across all of the Airbus ACJ Family.

The Airbus A318 Elite is aimed at the medium-range market for flights of up to 4,000 nm range, in which it will offer greater levels of cabin comfort than currently available.

Airbus will offer the A318 Elite in partnership with Lufthansa Technik with a choice of two cabin layouts seating up to 14 and 18 passengers, respectively, with seats and settees clustered in several lounge areas throughout the cabin. Both will be able to fly non-stop from London to New York, offering true intercontinental capability.

As the youngest, as well as the smallest, member of the Airbus A320 Family, the A318 features several innovations which are being progressively introduced in the rest of the range. These include advanced manufacturing techniques such as laser-beam welding, liquid-crystal displays in the cockpit and an improved cabin-management system for lighting, in-flight entertainment and other services.

Like the rest of the Airbus ACJ Family, the A318 offers features that are unavailable on other business jets. These include public-transport certification, centralised maintenance, sidestick controllers, fly-by-wire controls, carbon brakes, category 3B autoland and a choice of engines and auxiliary power units.

All of the family also offer additional benefits at no extra charge - such as fuel-saving wingtip fences, longer intervals between maintenance checks, larger access doors for easier maintenance access, better take-off and landing performance, a quieter cabin with greater environmental control, and a higher ceiling in the cabin. And, with a pedigree inherited from the world's most modern, economical and best-selling airliners, the Airbus ACJ Family enjoys unmatched investor appeal and value.

With a shorter fuselage but the same wing as the rest of the Airbus A320 Family, the A318 Elite has excellent short-field take-off and landing performance. This is being further enhanced by the certification of a steep approach capability of 5.5 degrees - especially useful at airports with noise and obstacle constraints.

Airbus is an EADS joint company with BAE Systems.