The Airbus A318 is the smallest aircraft of the A320 family, dubbed “the baby bus” it never sold as well as other variants of the A320 family.With British Airways retiring their one and only aircraft, that previously operated an exclusive business class service out of London city airport to New York’s JFK as BA1 (Using the flight number once used for Concorde flights to JFK), it is becoming harder to travel on the A318. So today we are going to be taking a look at the airlines that still operate the aircraft.
Air France-18 Aircraft
The A318 was never a best seller with only 80 being built, however Air France saw the potential of the aircraft and have a fleet comprising of 18 of the aircraft (three currently grounded due to COVID-19).If you do want to fly the Air France “Baby Bus” the fleet operates shot hops within France and frequently visits other European countries such as the UK,The Netherlands and Italy, however you will need to be quick as the airline will be phasing out the fleet in 2021 as they start to receive the more fuel efficient A220-300.
Tarom is the Flag carrier of Romania and uses its fleet of four A318’s to fly short routes between the Romanian capital of Bucharest and other major European cities such as London.With Tarom’s only orders being for the 737 MAX and the fact that they have an ageing fleet of 737-300 aircraft it does not look like the aircraft have a replacement for the A318 so we expect the aircraft to be in service with the airline for some years to come.
Titan Airways- 1 Aircraft
The Charter airline acquired one aircraft from British Airways in 2017 and is looking like the obvious buyer should BA wish to sell their remaining A318.The Airline has been flying medical aid to the isolated Atlantic island of ST Helena for the UK Government during the pandemic.The aircraft should return to passenger charters when it is no longer needed however it could be very hard to get onto the Titan A318 due to last minute changes.
The A318 is with no doubt a unique aircraft and many of us would love the chance to fly on the aircraft.However with airlines looking to get rid of any financial burdens we may not have long to fly the baby bus as maintenance and parts cost more than the aircraft itself.