TYPE: Twin-jet airliner.

PROGRAMME: Short-bodied version of A319 (itself a truncated A320). Formally announced at Farnborough Air Show, 7 September 1998, although known to be under consideration (as A319M5) since late 1997 when AVIC/AIA/STPL AE316/AE317 venture became uncertain. Smallest aircraft in Airbus family; programme launched 26 April 1999 with orders, commitments and options for 109 aircraft; launch customer Air France (via ILFC). Final assembly at Hamburg, resulting in some A319 production being moved to Tolouse. First metal cut November 2000; final assembly began 9 August 2001; three scheduled for completion in 2002 with production increasing to four per month by mid-2003.
Prototype (F-WWIA; 1,599th of A320 family) made maiden flight 15 January 2002, powered by PW6000 engines. Public debut at ILA, Berlin, 6 to 12 May 2002. Second prototype, F-WWIB, flew 3 June 2002; shown at Farnborough July 2002. Certification originally planned for October and service entry December 2002; however, delays in PW6000 programme (not now expected to be available until mid-2005) caused revised schedule; as a result, F-WWIA re-engined with CFM56-5B/Ps, making maiden flight in this form on 29 August 2002 and receiving JAA certification 23 May 2003. FAA approval came in following month, preceding initial deliveries to Frontier Airlines (22 July) and Air France (9 October 2003). Second prototype allocated to development of the PW6000-powered version, certification of which now anticipated in November 2005.

CURRENT VERSIONS: A318-100: Basic version.

CUSTOMERS: First customer. International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC), signed MoU for up to 30 aircraft on 17 November 1998, subject to launch of project, followed by firm order 30 April 1999. First conditional airline customer, TWA, signed Loi on 9 December 1998 for 50, confirming 25 by firm order 14 December 1999 but cancelled when TWA taken over by American Airlines: other early customers include Egyptair (three on 17 July 1999 - first firm airline order, followed by two further examples, but subsequently all cancelled). Total orders 79, of which nine delivered, at 1 January 2004.

COSTS: Programme cost estimated as US$300 million. Unit price US$41.7 million (2001).

DESIGN FEATURES: Shorter fuselage and taller fin than rest of A320 family, with which it has 95 per cent commonality, including A319 wing, pylon and interface. Laser welding (rather than riveting) used on lower fuselage to reduce costs and weight; first use of this technology on airliner. Common pilot type rating with A319, A320 and A321.


STRUCTURE: As A320, but fuselage 4½ frames (2.39 m; 7 ft 10 in) shorter than A319; 0.79m (2 ft 7 in) removed forward and 1.60 m (5 ft 3 in) aft of wing. Redesigned cargo doors. Fin has tip extension. Assembled in Germany by Airbus Deutschland. AVIC of China will have share of production work to offset AE31X project cancellation.

LANDING GEAR: As A320. Minimum ground turning radius 11.30 m (37 ft 1 in) about nosewheels, 19.50 m (63 ft 11¾ in) about mainwheels.

POWER PLANT: Two 98.3 kN (22,100 lb st) Pratt & Whitney PW6122 or 105.9 kN (23,800 lb st) PW6124 turbofans with clamshell-type thrust reversers; A318 is launch aircraft for PW6000 family. Alternative (and first in-service) power plant is 96.1 kN (21,600 lb st) CFM International CFM56-5B8/P or 103.6 kN (23,300 lb st) CFM International CFM56-5B9/P, officially announced 4 August 1999. Thrust reversing and deflection, fuel tank capacities and locations as A320.

ACCOMMODATION: Two flight crew plus three cabin crew. Typical passenger capacity eight first class and 99 second class with 96/81 cm (38/32 in) seat pitch, or 117 in single-class seating; high-density seating for 129 passengers; certified for up to 136. Front and rear passenger doors on port side; service door opposite each on starboard side. Overwing emergency exit each side. A318 will not carry containerised freight due to smaller baggage doors (of which size reduced to maintain same engine nacelle clearance for loading vehicles as A319).

SYSTEMS: Generally as A320; new-generation cabin intercom data system (CIDS).

AVIONICS: Generally as A320, but with new LCD screens.