Jeddah, Saudi Arabia-based National Air Services (NAS) has ordered five Airbus A318 Elites, a 15-seat, luxury version of the 100-seat-class airliner. In an announcement made during the first Middle East Business Aviation Conference here in Dubai yesterday, the operator also optioned five more of the twinjets.
NAS plans to use the CFM56-powered aircraft “to support VIP customers throughout the Middle East, including on routes from Saudi Arabia to Europe.” In addition to charter flights, the company has a scheduled service, called Al Khayala. Launched on the Riyadh-Jeddah route with two 44-seat A319s, last week it was extended to Dubai-Riyadh with a 40-seat Airbus Corporate Jetliner.
Lufthansa Technik (LHT) will outfit the A318 Elites with “around 15 seats,” according to NAS. Deliveries of the green aircraft will be spread between December 2006 and early 2008. LHT will take another four months to complete them.
The A318 Elite offers two cabin configurations with a few options. Richard Gaona, Airbus’ vice president for executive and private aviation, said Airbus and LHT are planning to cooperate to set up a mini-production line for aircraft completion.