The Airbus A318 powered by the new Pratt & Whitney PW6000 engine has been granted its type certificate by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). This follows an extensive flight test period, which started in December 2004 and comprised some 540 flight test hours in around 240 flights.

This type certificate is also the first issued by the new integrated European Agency, which covers all European Community Countries. The document was issued by Dr Norbert Lohl, EASA Director Certification Directorate during a ceremony held at Airbus site in Hamburg/Germany.

The A318, initially powered by CFM International CFM56-5B engines, performed its maiden flight on 15 January 2002 and received its type certificate on 23 May 2003. The new PW6000 engine ranges from 22,000 to 24,000 lbs of thrust. It provides aircraft performance that typical A318 operators expect on short haul high frequent routes, while meeting Stage 4 aircraft noise requirements and CAEP 4 engine emissions requirements with margins.

"Our A318 is the ideal aircraft for regional sectors, both for existing Airbus customers and for airlines wishing to join the ranks of some 200 carriers who have chosen to operate Airbus aircraft for their unmatched versatility, high-comfort standards and low-operating costs," says Mario Heinen, Senior Vice President A320-Family Programme. "The certification of the Pratt & Whitney powered A318 now really gives a choice of powerplant to customers."

The Airbus A320-Family covers the 100-seater A318, A319 (124 seats), A320 (150 seats) and A321 (185 seats). With nearly 4,000 aircraft sold to date, it is the first choice of airlines worldwide in the Single Aisle category and the market's fastest selling aircraft family. Its cabin has been elected most comfortable cabin by independent surveys, as passengers prefer the greater space and comfort offered by the A320 Family cross-section, including its wider seats. It also offers excellent economics and extensive commonality with other Airbus aircraft. It is the only single aisle, fly-by-wire technology aircraft in the market.

Airbus is an EADS joint company with BAE Systems.