THE US general-aviation industry has warned the European Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) that a proposal to impose a 120min extended-range-twin-engine-operation (ETOPS) limit on corporate aircraft would cost business-jet manufacturers over $200 million while not actually increasing safety margins.

Criticism of the proposal, which could take effect in a year's time, was submitted to the JAA by the US General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA).

Late in 1996, a JAA panel issued a Notice of Proposed Amendment which would set a 120min ETOPS threshold for business aircraft in commercial operations. It is the first move by an aviation authority to set a maximum distance which a twin-engined business aircraft may be flown from a suitable airfield.

GAMA says that the rule would hit 175 operators flying nearly 3,500 trips annually. The representative body adds that the rule would create a "no-fly zone" in the middle of the Atlantic. GAMA says that there have been no ETOPS-related accidents in more than 30 years of such operations.

As a compromise, GAMA proposes a 180min limit, which would exempt virtually all long-range twin-engined business aircraft.

Source: Flight International