When an aircraft is first imagined on the drawing board, an ideal mission profile is modelled with city pairs, frequencies and payloads. When a new aircraft enters service, more likely than not the operator identifies a mission profile similar to what the manufacturer had intended.
Occasionally, you see an airline take the ideal mission profile and tear it to shreds. No one fully envisioned a 757 would be flying trans-Atlantic or an A320 trans-continental.
Taking a leap one step further, British Airways has ordered two Airbus A318 in a 32 seat all-business configuration to find its way into an ultra-niche market. The newest (and shortest) member of the A320 family will be put into service between London City Airport in the heart of the financial district and New York City. There has been a raging debate about whether or not this service is a good idea for BA. Either way, this is a bold step forward in responding to the premium trans-Atlantic carries that are flying 767s out of Stansted.
The aircraft itself will be pushed to its operational limits. With a range of 3,700 nm, the aircraft will be able to make the trip without stopping for fuel on the east-bound leg from New York with the reduced weight. However, a 40 minute fuel stop will be required on the westbound leg. The exact location for the stop has yet to be determined, however Shannon, Ireland appears to be at the top of the list.
British Airways has selected CFM56 engines to power its pair of A318s. Both the CFM56 & PW6000 engine have 180 minute ETOPS certification, essential for efficient twin engine operations over the Atlantic.
The block times, according to Crankyflyer, a fellow blogger and GWU Alum, clocks in at 7 hours and 10 minutes to London (compare 6:55 - 747-400 JFK-LHR). The return leg is a lengthy 9 hours and 30 minutes (compare 7:10 – 747-400 LHR-JFK) back to the states, which includes the fuel stop.
Read the complete post at http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/flightblogger/2008/02/enhanced-technology-for-niche.html
Mon, Feb 4 2008 10:02 PM
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