The A318 is a quite unusual aircraft, with only 80 units produced. But there is an even more exclusive jet, the G-EUNA, which belonged to British Airways. The plane was used by the airline on flights between the airports London City and John F. Kennedy (New York), until March last year, when it was sent to Spain for storage.
This week, BA’s only A318 made its farewell flight to the Twente airport in the Netherlands. In the coming months, the aircraft will be dismantled by AELS, putting an end to his career since 2009, when it was acquired by BA from his ‘brother’ G-EUNB, currently flying with Titan Airways.
But what makes the Airbus G-EUNA so special? The answer is that it was used by British Airways as a kind of business class with wings. When it decided to order the smallest Airbus, the carrier intended to offer a special service to its customers by connecting London to New York with a smaller aircraft, entirely configured with only 32 more spacious and comfortable seats.
Dubbed the ‘Baby Bus’, the A318 operated on flight BA001 until last year, when the coronavirus pandemic ended any corporate demand.
Before that, in 2017, the service had already been reduced when British Airways withdrew the G-EUNB from operation. It is worth remembering that the BA001 flight was previously reserved for Concorde, which took only 2 hours and 53 minutes to cover the distance between the two cities. The supersonic jet, however, was retired in 2003.
The ‘Baby Bus’, on the contrary, did not stand out for its speed, after all it was necessary to make a stopover before arriving in New York, but it meant a more agile alternative for BA’s corporate clients.
A318 fleet shrinks
Although in absolute terms the retirement of British Airways’ only A318 reflects little in the total number of active aircraft, it is a fact that it symbolizes the decline of the smallest jet ever produced by Airbus (not considering the A220, originally developed by Bombardier).
According to the planemaker, there were 65 aircraft flying in December, 45 on airlines. The largest operator of the A318 is Air France, which will soon receive its first A220s. At the French carrier, however, the jet is configured for 118 seats.