The development of the A318 started with a cooperation between Airbus, Alenia, and the chinese company AVIC in the year of 1997. Together they wanted to develop a regional jet with about 100 seats, and called it AE31X. in 1998 though, the project was cancelled due to a lack of rentability. Shortly afterwards, Airbus announced the sole development of the A318. The first flight was on January 15 2002, launching customer is Air France. Like the models A319 and A321, the A318 is manufactured in Hamburg- Finkenwerder in Germany.
The A318 is basically a shortened version of the A319. The cockpit and the interior are identical with the other family members. The A318 fits 100-124 persons. To fulfill the given expectations for regional service, the A318 was equipped with smaller and weaker engines. The choice can be made between the PW6000 by Pratt & Whitney and the CFM56-5.
The identical structure of the A318 with the other models of the A320 family has the advantage that every pilot who is qualified to fly an A320 model, is also able to fly the A318. Furthermore, a family of airliners is more profitable to airlines and easier to maintain. This concept is Airbus' s trump, since the aircraft is a lot less profitable to operate than the new pure regional jets. Thus, its weight is probably the main reason why the aircraft has been selling very slowly to this date.