BRITISH AIRWAYS is expected to be cleared for inaugural transatlantic services with the General Electric GE90-powered Boeing 777 in October, pending final approval by the European Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA).

The engine/airframe completed extended-range twinjet operations (ETOPS) testing on 31 July, and US Federal Aviation Administration type design approval (TDA) is expected around 15 September. As the first ETOPS-operator is BA, the US agency's TDA decision will then be cleared to begin transatlantic flights from London to Boston.

GE90 programme manager Russ Sparks does not expect any last-minute hold-ups and says: "There are no technical issues, it's just a question of going through all the paperwork and getting a meeting organised with the FAA."

The higher-powered GE90-92B is expected to be flown for the first time on the initial GE-powered 777-200IGW aircraft in the second week of September. "Right now, it looks like we'll be on track for delivery to British Airways and China Southern in February 1997," says Sparks.

The first -92Bs have been fitted to WA077 (777 number six), the original GE90-powered 777, as well as the first -200IGW for British Airways for British Airways (777 number 41), which was rolled out in late August (Flight International, 21-27 August P9).

GE is in negotiations with American Airlines and Air France as potential launch customers for the 445kN (100,000lb)-thrust GE90-100B on the 777-200X and -300 respectively. Sparks confirms that "-we're keeping [Air France] informed on the engine, and we're also talking to American". Detailed design will be added to the installed weight of the 445kN version. "That will be made up by more booster aerofoils," he explains.

Source: Flight International