Airbus undertook A318 airport compatibility tests at London City Airport on Saturday, May 13th, 2006, an important part of the programme aimed at enabling the aircraft to undertake commercial flights at the airport.

Offering twice the range of existing aircraft serving London City Airport, the A318 will allow commercial operators to offer new, longer distance routes to new markets such as Rome, Madrid and Eastern Europe. The A318 Elite corporate jet version could operate even further afield.

The test means that the A318 becomes the first mainline jet to fly out of London City Airport. It follows three years of evaluation by Airbus, London City Airport and airworthiness authorities. In March authorities granted the A318 a Steep Approach Certification that enabled the airport compatibility tests to take place. With its ultra low noise characteristics, the A318 makes an extremely good neighbour for downtown airports.

Richard Gooding, Managing Director of London City Airport welcomes the evaluation flights by Airbus, the worlds leading aircraft manufacturer by orders and deliveries.

"This new aircraft is expected eventually to replace existing aircraft such as the BAE 146, which is no longer in production. Carrying 107 passengers the A318 helps secure the long-term development of London City Airport, which is expected to quadruple in throughput over the next 25 years", he said.

The smallest in the Airbus family, the A318 entered service in July 2003. It has a range of up to 3,250 nm/6,000 km, and typically accommodates 107 passengers in a two-class layout and up to 132 passengers in a single-class layout.

The A318 offers the widest single-aisle fuselage in its market and features the most modern and complete fly-by-wire technology available on any single aisle aircraft.

Airbus is an EADS joint company with BAE Systems.