The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approved the Airbus A350-900 for ETOPS (Extended-range Twin engine aircraft Operations) ‘beyond 180 minutes’ diversion time. This approval means that when the first FAA-affiliated operators start to take delivery of their A350s in 2017 they will be able to serve new direct non-limiting routings, compared with a standard 180 minute ETOPS diversion time. It also means that now the A350 XWB is approved by both EASA and the FAA for beyond 180 minutes ETOPS.
The ETOPS 300min option will, in particular, 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 straighter more fuel efficient flight paths with lower CO2 emissions, while also allowing access to more en-route diversion airports if needed.