The Airbus A318 is the smallest aircraft in the Airbus portfolio. First flying on 15 January 2002, it is designed to carry up to 132 passengers and is affectionately referred to in some circles as the baby bus.

Entering service with Frontier Airlines in July 2003, it is powered by either two Pratt & Whitney PW6000 or CFM56-5B turbofan engines. It is over six metres shorter than the Airbus A320 it is based on, and features a larger vertical stabiliser.

Airbus A318 Video

Following on from the last video about the Douglas DC-2, this time we head to Europe for a look at the Airbus A318. The video below runs for almost 12 minutes and is produced by the manufacturer.

Opening with footage of the aircraft’s first flight, it then moves to the production line, showing various elements being put together. This is always interesting to see, and all of it is accompanied by an inoffensive corporate music soundtrack.

The Most Famous Airbus A318 Flights

Perhaps the most famous flights using the Airbus A318 were the British Airways services between London City airport and New York JFK. These were referred to as Club World London City, and featured just 32 seats – all of them business class. They took over the old Concorde flight numbers, BA1 and BA3 to New York and BA2 and BA4 to London.

The flight from London City to New York stopped in Shannon, Ireland for refueling due to the short runway at LCY. While there, passengers went through US immigration preclearance so they would arrive as domestic passengers. The return flight from New York operated non-stop. Pretty exclusive really, and I enjoyed the experience immensely.

Airbus A318 Operators

Seven airlines ordered the Airbus A318 off the production line, and another two airlines picked up the entire fleets of two of them. Here are pictures of all the airline liveries worn by the jet. The first 11 are all Frontier planes and you will see why…

In addition to those, another 20 were ordered by various private operators and governments. These became VIP aircraft to one extent or another, offering airline level space for those clients.

Overall Thoughts

There were just 80 Airbus A318s produced between 2001 and 2013, which is a very short production run indeed. It is both the smallest and lowest selling variant of the A320 family.

Today you can find them in service with Air France and TAROM, which are the final airlines operating them. Once they go, the remaining fleet will be in private hands.

Have you flown on board the baby bus before? What was that like? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Frontier – N801FR via Pinterest, N806FR via Pinterest, and N807FR via Pinterest. N802FR, N803FR, N804FR, N805FR and N812FR by Konstantin von Wedelstaedt on via Wikimedia Commons. Cubbie_n_Vegas on Flickr via Wikimedia Commons took the pictures of N808FR and N810FR. Finally, N809FR is by Eddie Maloney via Wikimedia Commons.

Air France original livery by Philippe Noret of AirTeamimages, current livery by Kambui. Mexicana old livery by Konstantin von Wedelstaedt on and new livery by André Austin Du-Pont Rocha on Avianca by Andrés Ramírez on and Avianca Brasil by Rafael Luiz Canossa. LAN by Aeroprints on Flickr, TAROM by Anna Zvereva and British Airways by Ronnie Macdonald. All via Wikimedia Commons.