Final North American A318 Retired

Aug 22, 2013 No Comments by

The Airbus A318 can be thought of as the black sheep of the Airbus family. With a grand total of only 79 airframes built, the A318 program was simply not meant to be. Earlier this month, the final A318 based in North America, belonging to Frontier Airlines, has been retired at the young age of 10. Delivered in late 2003, N803FR operated its last passenger flight on August 5th from Denver to Phoenix Sky Harbor, and now resides at Goodyear Airport where it awaits the chopping block.

Frontier was actually the launch customer of the Airbus A318 in 2003, but not the only North American airline to order the type. America West had also ordered the A318, but later converted their orders to larger A319s and A320s. TWA also ordered the A318, but never saw delivery before declaring chapter 11 and purchase by American Airlines.

When initially designed, the Airbus A318 made sense as a larger regional jet. Once jet fuel prices went through the roof, however, the A318 made less and less sense. Requiring the same amount of crew on board as the A319, weighing just 3,000 pounds less and having only 85% the seating capacity of the A319, the A318 just couldn’t find its place in the market. The introduction of much more efficient and economical regional jets such as the Embraer E-Jet series and larger Canadair CRJs sealed the A318s fate.

For the complete story by Jason Rabinowitz of NYCAviation.com, click here.

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Online Editor I've been around airplanes since I was a kid. That's when my uncle, a professional pilot, showed me how to fly his Cessna 177 Cardinal. l later became a writer and editor, so covering the exciting and ever-changing aviation industry -- which I've been doing in Flight Journal's Flybys since the late '90s -- was a natural fit.
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