The European Joint Airworthiness Authorities (JAA) has certificated the CFM56-5B-powered Airbus A318 which can be seen flying in the show at Le Bourget.

The A318 is the smallest of the A320-series of aircraft and although it can carry up to 129 passengers in high-density layout, it looks positively sawn-off when compared to the A340-600 which can also be seen flying at Paris. As the legends on the side of the fuselages say: "Whatever size you want, we have it!".

FAA certification in the USA is expected before the end of this month, paving the way for Frontier Airlines to take delivery of its first aircraft in July 2003.

In 2002, CFM certificated two new thrust ratings for the A318: the CFM56-5B8, rated at 21,600 pounds (96 kN) thrust, and the CFM56-5B9, rated at 23,300 pounds (103.5 kN) thrust. No hardware changes were required for these new ratings.

Air France is scheduled to begin taking delivery of its A318s in October of this year. In addition to the Air France (15 firm, 10 options) and Frontier (five firm, five option) orders, GE Capital Aviation Services has 30 CFM56-5B-powered A318s on order and will receive its first aircraft in 2004. The CFM56-5B engines for the A318 are the same as those powering the Airbus A319/ A320/A321. As the only engine that can power every model of the A320 family with the same kit, the CFM56-5B provides airlines a distinct commonality advantage. It continues to be the engine of choice for the Airbus A320 family, having been selected to power more than half of all A320 family aircraft ordered to date.

The CFM56 engine family is produced by CFM International, a 50:50 joint venture company between Snecma Moteurs of France and General Electric Company. With more than 13,500 engines in service, CFM is the world's leading aircraft engine supplier in pure numbers terms.

Source: Flight Daily News