Airbus A318 tested at London City

An Airbus A318 flew a series of landing and takeoff trials at London City airport on 13 May. London City’s steep 5.5 degrees glideslope (compared with the normal 3 degrees) and short 1,199m (3,650ft) runway pose substantial challenges for operation there. At present, the BAe 146 and Avro RJ are the largest jetliners certified for operation at London City. The only other jetliners certified for operation at the airport are the much smaller Fokker 70 and Embraer 135. If the 107-passenger A318 were to be certified for operation at London City, it would provide substantial competition to the 146/RJ. With its greater range, the A318 would be able to reach a much larger number of destinations. On a steep approach, the A318 would use its outer two spoilers on each wing as speed brakes, allowing a stabilized descent with sufficient engine power to allow a go-around if needed. The spoilers must be partially retracted in the flare, however, to avoid speed dropping too fast when engine power is reduced. Once the A318 has been set down, the other problem will be parking it: the A318’s very tall tail would not have sufficient clearance from the runway, so parking areas would have to be expanded.

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