The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approved the Airbus A350-900 for ETOPS (Extended-range Twin Engine aicraft Operations) beyond 180 minutes diversion time.
This means that when FAA-affiliated operators start to take deliveries of the A350s in 2017, they will be able to serve new direct non-limiting routings, compared with a standard 180 minutes ETOPS certification. It also means that the A350 is certified by both the FAA and EASA for beyond 180 minutes ETOPS.
The FAA approval, which includes ETOPS 180 as the basic specification, includes provisions for up to ETOPS 300, corresponding to a maximum diversion distance of 2,000 nautical miles at one-engine-inoperative speed with standard atmospheric conditions.
Later this year, once the type accumulates additional in-service experience, it will be granted a further ETOPS 370 certification from the FAA, which will extend the maximum diversion distance to 2,500nm.
The ETOPS 300 option will facilitate more efficient transoceanic routes across the North and Mid Pacific. Meanwhile, operators flying on existing routes using ETOPS 180 certified aircraft will be able to use straighter more fuel efficient flight plans with lower CO2 emissions.