The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has approved the A330-900 for ETOPS (Extended-range Twin engine aircraft Operations) “beyond 180 minutes” diversion time. This significant achievement means that operators of the A330neo, which is powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, will benefit from direct long-range routings.
The approval, which includes ETOPS 180 min. capability in the aircraft’s basic specification, now also includes the option for “ETOPS 285 min.” This extends the potential air diversion distance to around 2,000nm. The U.S. FAA’s respective ETOPS certification is expected soon.
A330neo operators which choose the ETOPS 285 min. option will be able to serve new direct ‘non-limiting’ routings. Meanwhile, operators flying on existing routes (currently flown with up to 180-minute diversion time) will be able to traverse a straighter, quicker and more fuel efficient path, and also have access to more – and possibly better equipped – en-route diversion airports if needed.
The granting of this ETOPS capability is a testimony to the aircraft’s design and systems maturity, which has been demonstrated to be as good as its predecessor – the versatile and reliable A330-200/A330-300 family, proven over many millions of flights.
The A330neo is a true new-generation aircraft family comprising the A330-900 and the smaller A330-800. The A330-900 in particular is the lowest seat-mile cost 300-seater which incorporates highly efficient Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, a new 3D-optimised wing with greater span and lighter composite materials, as well as new wingtip Sharklets. Together, these advances bring greater range (around 7,200 nm with a three-class cabin) and 25% lower fuel consumption compared with older generation aircraft of similar size.
The A330 is one of the most popular widebody families ever, having received over 1,700 orders to date from 120 customers. More than 1,400 A330s are flying with over 120 operators worldwide. The A330neo is the latest addition to the leading Airbus twin-engine widebody family.
In 2009, the Airbus A330-200/-300 became the first airliner family to gain an ETOPS ‘Beyond 180min’ certification, which was granted by EASA. Airbus twin-engine airliners have accumulated over 20 million ETOPS flight hours, most of which have been accumulated by the A330 Family.
Meanwhile, in January, the newest addition to the Airbus family of commercial aircraft, the A220, received 180-minute extended operations (ETOPS) approval from Transport Canada. (The A220 was originally designed by Canada’s Bombardier as the C Series.) This achievement paves the way for A220 customers to start new direct non-limiting routings over water, remote or underserved regions.
“This A220 ETOPS milestone adds to the numerous performance capabilities which the unbeatable A220 Family already offers,” said Florent Massou, Head of Airbus’ A220 Programme.
“Being the only in-production aircraft in its class capable of performing both steep approach and long-range operations, the A220 is definitely unlocking new route opportunities for airlines,” added Rob Dewar, Head of Engineering and Customer Support, A220 Programme.
The A220 is the first commercial airliner to obtain domestic ETOPS certification from Transport Canada. This capability is available as an option for A220-100 and A220-300 operators, enabling them to fly for up to 180-minutes from the nearest diversion airport.
As the only aircraft purpose-built for the 100-150 seat market, the A220 delivers unbeatable fuel efficiency and true widebody comfort in a single-aisle aircraft. The aircraft brings together state-of-the-art aerodynamics, advanced materials and Pratt & Whitney’s latest-generation PW1500G geared turbofan engines to offer at least a 20% lower fuel burn per seat compared to previous generation aircraft. With a range of up to 3,200 nautical miles (5,920 km), the A220 offers the performance of larger single aisle aircraft.
With an order book of over 537 aircraft to date, the A220 has all the credentials to win the lion’s share of the 100- to 150-seat aircraft market.
“ETOPS” is a set of rules initially introduced by International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in the mid-1980s to allow commercial operations with twin-engine aircraft on routes beyond 60 minutes flying time from the nearest airport and which were previously operated only by aircraft with more than two engines. These rules, which are now named “EDTO” (Extended Diversion Time Operations) by ICAO have been progressively revised to allow operations up to or beyond 180 minutes diversion time.