I'm a layman long fascinated by airplanes who just paid 25 bucks to get hopefully, correct answers. I asked Airbus these questions soon after launch of the A318 was announced in the late 90s, and again last week after I've read that Boeing had given up promoting the 737-600 as a business aircraft:
"Could the A318's "heavy" structure (for its type) be parlayed to extend its range to, say 6,000 NM, by adding center tanks? What's the number of auxiliary tanks that could be accomodated, after allowing for 14 PAX + baggage, given the remaining lower hold space and MTOW? And is the ELITE's present range of 4,000 NM with 14-18 passengers just for basic fuel load?"
I got no answer the first time, maybe because I'm too insignificant, and last week they politely (condescendingly?) replied that such information was reserved for their operators and customers and not provided on the web. I thought the first time they were concerned that Boeing would beat them to the draw if it were known that they were planning a business configured A318, as the 736 was ready. Or it could be that my questions were plainly stupid and did not merit an answer? But now that B is out of the game, A is alone (can we count Br and E?) to exploit the market for entry-level, extra long- range, large bizjets, if indeed there is such a market.
First the hurdles. Should there be not many buyers, a one-off might not be worth a manufacturer's while, or be prohibitively expensive for the buyer, who also has to demonstrate ETOPs capability (even for unscheduled service?). If there are buyers, could the ELITE be ETOPs certified specially on trans-Pacific missions, or must the user settle for a halfway stop at HNL? I'm truly ignorant of the technicalities so if someone knowledgeable is so inclined or want to be amused, please educate me. Thank you.