Flight International online news 12:20: Airbus kicked off the NBAA annual convention by unveiling the latest addition to its corporate jetliner range (ACJ), announcing it had already sold three to its first customer.

Introducing the A318 Elite, which is based on the company’s smallest airliner, Airbus vice-president executive and private aviation Richard Gaona, said: “The A318 Elite crowns a very successful year for us, in which we have made important inroads into executive charter, airline, corporate and government markets.”


The A318 Elite will be an entry-level airliner to the ACJ family. Gaona says Airbus is offering the A318 Elite as a completed product only, in partnership with Lufthansa Technik. There is a choice of two cabin layouts seating up to either 14 or 18 passengers, 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,” he says.

The first A318 Elite customer is Swiss-based VIP charter operator Comlux. Its three Elites will seat 16 passengers, divided into three rooms – guest area, executive lounge and private room. The first is due to be delivered in early 2007.

The A318 Elite has a range of up to 4,000nm (7,400km), and is offered with either CFMI or Pratt & Whitney engines with 23,300lb (100kN) and 23,800lb thrust, respectively.

“With the same wide cabin as the rest of the Airbus A320 Family, the A318 Elite makes big-jet comfort and style even more affordable, complementing the ACJ in the middle of the family and the A320 Prestige at the top-end,” said Gaona.

Airbus says the A318 offers 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.

As well as short-field take-off and landing performance, the company says this is being enhanced by the certification of a steep approach capability of 5.5 degrees – especially useful at airports with noise and obstacle constraints.

To read daily updates from the NBAA convention in Orlando click here.

Source: Flight Daily News