The Airbus A318 vs A220-100 – What Plane Is Best?

Airbus has a little bit of a problem. In their haste to incorporate the A220 series from Bombardier, they also took an aircraft that actually competes with their own A318. The A220-100 and A318 are so close in passenger numbers that any airline would have a hard time choosing between them.

Whilst Airbus has had two similar aircraft before, this is the closet similarity they have ever had in their lineup. For the big brother of the A220-100, the A220-300, check out our VS article here.

Read on to find out how these two aircraft compare, and which is better. The answer may surprise you.

A318
Airbus A318 vs Airbus A220-100. Photo: Simple Flying

Airbus A318 vs Airbus A220-100

Let’s begin by listing the differences between each aircraft, with a focus on passengers and range.

A318A220-100
Crew22
Passengers117 typical / 136 max116 typical / 135 max
Length103 ft 2 in / 31.44 m114 ft 9 in / 35.0 m
Range3,100 nmi / 5,740 km2,760 nmi / 5,110 km

Passengers

From the list above, we can see that both aircraft carry essentially the same amount of passengers. However, if we explore a little deeper we can see there is a difference if these aircraft were configured for two classes.

  • A220-100 – 109 (12F @ 36 in, 15W @ 34 in , 82Y @ 32 in) – Delta Configuration.
  • A318 – 107 passengers (8F @ 38 in, 99Y @ 32 in).

As we can see, the A220-100 manages to fit in more premium seats and premium economy seats than the A318, without sacrificing too many economy seats. Plus all the seats on an A220 are typically 18.6 in wide, compared to just 18 in on the A318. Of course, that’s 0.6 in and hardly a major difference.

Seats on an A220-100 are also in a 2 – 2 configuration for business, and a 2 – 3 configuration for economy. This is very useful for couples or friends who can now sit together.

We should also mention passenger comforts. The A220 has modern design principles such as higher humidity (helping jet lag), USB charging and large overhead bins (some of the largest in the sky). Plus the windows are huge, bigger than a 787 Dreamliner and, for an added bonus, they even put one in the bathroom.

The A318, on the other hand, is quite old. It has its seats in a 3 – 3 configuration (even for some premium classes like Air France) due to the aircraft being wider than the A220. This is why it can be shorter yet carry more max passengers.

Winner: A220-100

Range

This is where it gets interesting. The A318 can fly further than the A220-100. Quite a bit further (700km).

This may be due to the fact that the A318 has more powerful engines than the A220, and can carry 3,000 more liters of fuel. But more fuel and more power doesn’t mean more efficient, and it’s likely that the engines are more expensive to run.

Winner: A318

Air france
An Air France A318. Photo: Air France

Which is best?

We won’t beat around the bush. We are comparing a plane that has just started flying to one designed nearly 20 years ago.

Looking at costs:

  • A318 – US$77.4 million, €63 million (2018)
  • A220-100: US$79.5 million (2018)

Would you pay an extra two million for a better aircraft?

Plus, one of these planes has only ever got 80 orders (hint, it’s the A318) whilst the other goes from strength to strength (with 85 ordered so far). Make no mistake, the A220-100 is a better aircraft… until perhaps the A318neo gets built.

But will that ever happen? Only Airbus knows and they are not saying anything.

Let us know what you think in the comments!

5 comments
  1. The 318 was for a specific purpose, hence only 80 were made. It’s unlikely you would get one new. I don’t think Airbus will offer a neo version. That was before the 220 joined the fleet. Now you would get a 220.

    1. Very true. And the only one in the Airbus fleet who could do steep landings, like London City Airport

  2. I don’t think you can even order an A318 anymore. The type is done and Airbus are not even making a NEO version of it. As far as the A319, there are a total of 55 orders for the type, which competes with the A220-300.

    Look for Airbus to quietly switch over the A319 orders to A220-300’s and quietly retire the A318/319 lines.

    I think a sound strategy for Airbus would be to let Bombardier produce the smaller to mid range jets and Airbus can compete with Boeing directly in the 757/767 market, which seems to be the upcoming battlefield.

    Moving forward, the lines could look something like this:

    A220-100
    A220-300
    A320Neo / A220-500 (next gen jet moving forward)
    A321Neo
    A321Neo LR
    A321Neo XLR (or A322, as many propose)

    …then on into the A330 Neo’s , A350…

  3. A318 is much heavier than A220, which means higher operation cost such as landing fees, fuel consumption…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recommended: