EXTENDED-RANGE twin- operations (ETOPS) testing of the General Electric GE90-powered Boeing 777 could start in February after a series of delays.

Boeing says that it is "...still waiting for a decision from the US Federal Aviation Administration reliability-assessment board [RAB]" on whether the tests can get under way.

Programme sources confirm that "...GE is expected to get the ticket to start the 1,000 cycles in a matter of days. Work is in hand to start preparations to fly in February." GE declines to comment.

The delayed GE90 ETOPS plan originally called for approval in September 1995. FAA certification is not now expected until May or June. The start of the test series has been delayed by a succession of incidents and modifications.

British Airways and GE have decided not to replace the second engine on the first of the carrier's three 777s after inspections revealed that the condition of leaf seals in the high-pressure compressor of the first engine, removed on 7 January, was "better than had been expected".

Source: Flight International