Any US extension of the 180min rule for extended range twin engined operations (ETOPS) would be granted on the basis of "equivalent safety" to existing rules, says the US Federal Aviation Administration.

The agency says: "We have told the operators/manufacturers they should make a proposal for extending ETOPS beyond 180min and we would work with them to develop what issues need to be resolved, such as any additional requirements that need to be imposed. We also will work with them on developing the standards needed to ensure safe operation." The 180min ETOPS rule designates the maximum single-engined flying time that a twin-engined aircraft may operate from a usable diversion airfield.

Boeing, reacting to requests from some of its transpacific 777 operators, has said that an extension to the 180min ETOPS clearance to 207min could be available by the end of the year (Flight International, 30 September-6 October). No-one has yet applied for an extension, says the FAA.

Source: Flight International