The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has approved all Airbus A330 models for ETOPS (Extended-Range Operations for two-engined aircraft) “beyond 180 minutes.” This award makes the A330 the first aircraft type to receive such approval, either from EASA or the FAA. The new capability will be available as a customer-selectable option which extends the diversion distance potentially up to 1,700 nm. This distance corresponds to a maximum ETOPS diversion time for the A330 of approximately 240 minutes (at one-engine-inoperative speed under standard conditions).
Operators with two-engined aircraft who choose this option will now be able to serve new routes which are presently not flown within the existing ETOPS rules (i.e. up to 180 minutes diversion time). For the A330, examples include new routes over South Atlantic Ocean, Mid- and South Pacific Ocean, and Mid-Indian Ocean. Operators flying on existing routes will benefit from the new regulation, since it will allow them to fly more directly and eco-efficiently. Some estimates show a fuel saving potential of up to 10 percent for some long range routes (with consequent reductions in CO2 emissions).
The granting of this latest ETOPS extension, to around 1,700nm and 240 minutes, has been made possible in part due to the proven reliability and robust systems of the aircraft and its engines, as demonstrated over 14 million A330 flight hours and 3.5 million flights.
ETOPS, is an International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) rule permitting two-engined commercial aircraft operators to fly routes that are up to a specified flying time from the nearest airport. Since 1995 all Airbus A330 models have been approved by EASA and FAA for ETOPS up to 180 minutes, and with this they have since accumulated more than five million ETOPS flight hours in more than 800,000 ETOPS flights.