EASA certifies A350 XWB for up to 370 minute ETOPS
Cologne, October 16, 2014 (STAT):-The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has approved the new A350-900 airliner for ETOPS (Extended-range Twin engine aircraft Operations) ‘Beyond 180 minutes’ diversion time. This significant achievement marks the A350 XWB as being the first new aircraft type ever to receive such a level of ETOPS approval prior to entry into service (EIS). Moreover, this means that operators will benefit from the most efficient, reliable and direct long-range routings of any two-engined aircraft. The FAA’s respective ETOPS certification of the A350 is expected soon.
The approval which includes ETOPS 180min in the basic specification also includes provisions for ‘ETOPS 300min’ and ‘ETOPS 370min’ depending on individual operator selection. The latter option extends the diversion distance up to an unprecedented 2,500nm – a distance which corresponds to a maximum ETOPS diversion time for the A350 of approximately 370 minutes, at one-engine-inoperative speed under standard atmospheric conditions.
A350 operators will thus be able to serve new direct non-limiting routings, compared with a 180 minute ETOPS diversion time: The ETOPS 370min option will be of particular benefit for new direct southern routes such as between Australia, South Africa and South America; while the ETOPS 300min option will facilitate more efficient transoceanic routes across the North and Mid-Pacific – such as from South East Asia to US, and Australasia to the US. Meanwhile, operators flying on existing routes (currently flown with up to 180 minute diversion time) will be able to traverse a straighter and consequently 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 prior to the A350’s EIS is a testimony to the development teams’ emphasis on securing the aircraft’s design and systems maturity, which had to be demonstrated as equivalent to that of a proven ETOPS aircraft such as its widebody sibling – the versatile and extremely reliable A330. The latter has proven the robustness of its systems as demonstrated in over 30 million flight hours in almost seven million flights.