By Kerry Ezard in London
US Federal Aviation Administration officials have approved three Airbus narrowbody models, including the manufacturer’s corporate aircraft, for 180min extended range twin-engine operations (ETOPS).
The approval covers the A319, A320 and A321 aircraft types and follows a similar decision by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in 2004.
ETOPS approval governs the maximum flight time a twin-engined aircraft is allowed to fly on a single engine in the event of one of its powerplants failing.
The 180min authorisation means airlines can operate the Airbus narrowbodies on routes up to 3hr flying time from the nearest airport. This gives carriers greater flexibility when operating oceanic routes or flying over remote areas.
Airbus says the first A319 corporate jet approved for ETOPS by the FAA will be delivered this month to an undisclosed US customer. The manufacturer is also pursuing 180min ETOPS approval for its A318 model, and expects to receive EASA and FAA approval in the second half of this year.