The US Federal Aviation Administration has proposed granting permission for a 15% increase in the maximum allowable extended-range twin-engined operations (ETOPS ) to 207min from the nearest diversion airport. The proposal follows a request from the US Air Transport Association (ATA).

An FAA policy document calls for a 15% extension on the current 180min limit. The agency says that would allow 207min flight time for twin-engined airliners from an "adequate en-route alternate airport". The Administration says: "It is intended that this extension would be provided on a flight-by-flight exception basis." Comments on the proposal have to be submitted by 11 June.

Additional equipment or procedural requirements to those stipulated for 180min ETOPS would be demanded, says the FAA, including:

• Operators having to apply for 207min authority:

• The aircraft being forced to have satellite communications and datalinks to airline operations and dispatch to allow updating of flight plan and diversion information before entry to the extended sector;

• Single engine automated flight capability;

• A more stringent minimum equipment list;

• Operators with 207min authority advising the FAA monthly of all ETOPS, with justification for each exceedance of the 180min limit.

Meanwhile, the FAA says it proposes to review all the requirements for en route requirements including the diversion airports, given that "such operations operate over increasingly remote and demanding areas of operation".

Source: Flight International