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A330-900 secures ETOPS with engine-life restrictions

Airbus has secured extended twin-engined operations (ETOPS) approval for the A330-900, the initial variant of the A330neo – although the clearance carries a restriction.

The Rolls-Royce Trent 7000-powered aircraft has been cleared for 180min ETOPS by the European Aviation Safety Agency.

But EASA says the clearance is restricted to powerplants with a life of less than 500 engine flight cycles.

The limitation is confirmed in a 9 November amendment to EASA certification documentation for the Trent 7000, which is a derivative of the Trent 1000 for the Boeing 787.

“It is expected that these restrictions will be removed at a later issue of [the certification document],” it adds.

Rolls-Royce states that the limitation relates to Trent 7000 ETOPS reporting and the need for the manufacturer to submit final reports linked to ETOPS testing.

“It is not related to any technical issue with the Trent 7000 engine,” stresses the company, which has spent the last few months dealing with highly-public Trent 1000 problems.

“It is intended that these [ETOPS] restrictions will be removed by the end of this year, once we have provided EASA with the appropriate documentation.

“This approach is not unusual in the introduction of ETOPS as a new engine enters service.”

Airbus is due to hand over the first A330-900, to launch operator TAP Portugal, on 26 November.

ETOPS was granted to the A330-900 on 14 November, according to EASA. It has yet to approve ETOPS beyond 180min for the variant.

Airbus initially obtained beyond-180min ETOPS clearance for the A330-300 – the immediate predecessor of the A330-900 – in October 2009.

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