Leading aircraft manufacturer Airbus has received approval for 180-minute extended range twin-engine operations (ETOPS) with its A319, A320 and A321 single-aisle aircraft, including its corporate jet versions.
The approval was granted by the new European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Airbus is also in the process of obtaining approval for the latest family member, the A318. This means that, other than some of its very early aircraft, all twin-engine Airbus aircraft will be approved for ETOPS operations up to 180 minutes.
For around 20 years, ETOPS regulations have governed the design and operation of twin-engine aircraft that are flying routes with a trajectory point that is further than 60 minutes away from an adequate airport when flying on a single-engine. Over the years - due to demonstrated systems and engine reliability - the maximum diversion time that can now be granted to an aircraft type has been increased up to 180 minutes.
Airbus, as a manufacturer of the most cost efficient twin-engine aircraft, has been a driving force in promoting ETOPS approvals and operations for twin-engine aircraft. Its first approval for ETOPS was obtained in 1986, soon after original ETOPS regulations came into force.
Airbus, which was the first aircraft manufacturer to have a fly-by-wire aircraft ETOPS certified, as well as being the first to introduce ETOPS requirements into its entire product line, has also established methods for accelerated-ETOPS approval. These are used to achieve ETOPS approval from day-one of entry into service.
Its recent approval recognises the significant in-service experience gathered by the A320 Family and the excellent reliability of the CFM and IAE engines. The A320 Family has now accumulated over 31 million flight hours since entry into service and more than ten years worth of 120-minute ETOPS operations worldwide. Currently there are around ten ETOPS approved Airbus A320 Family operators, a figure which excludes A319 ACJ operators.
The leading aircraft manufacturer with the most modern and comprehensive product line on the market, Airbus is a global company with design and manufacturing facilities in France, Germany, the UK and Spain as well as subsidiaries in the US, China and Japan. Headquartered in Toulouse, France, Airbus is an EADS joint company with BAE Systems.