SAAB AIRCRAFT is working to achieve extended-range twin-engine operations (ETOPS) certification for its Saab 2000 turboprop to allow extended flight over water.

Executive vice-president Johan Oster says that 90min ETOPS qualification is needed for Air Marshall Islands, which has ordered two aircraft for operations over the Pacific.

Speaking as Saab delivered the first of Deutsche BA's five aircraft, Oster said that the ETOPS capability requires an upgrade to the aircraft's fire-extinguishing equipment, which will be available on Air Marshall Islands' second aircraft. The first aircraft, scheduled for May delivery, will meet only the requirements for 75min ETOPS.

Certification, under the ETOPS rules will take about a year to achieve, estimates Oster.

Deutsche BA is replacing part of its Saab 340 fleet with 200s on a one-for-one basis during 1995. The airline also has options for five more aircraft to be delivered in 1996 or 1997.

Saab says, that it has consistently shown a 370kt (685km/h) cruise speed with the aircraft10kt higher than expected, but still has to achieve a 2dB reduction in cabin noise level, to meet the 76dB specification promised to customers.

Oster says that Saab is also developing a combi version, capable of taking either 50 passengers, or of being reconfigured to take 19 passengers and 3t of cargo. This could be ready by the end of 1996.

Source: Flight International