UPS Airlines has "tentative approval" from the US Federal Aviation Administration for instant 180min extended-range twinjet operations (ETOPS) with its new General Electric CF6-80C2-powered Boeing 767-300ER freighter.

If approved, the UPS 767 will become the second twinjet after the United Airlines 777-200 to enter service with FAA clearance for 180min ETOPS. The three-point plan hinges on FAA acceptance of UPS' maintenance, operations and support systems to conduct ETOPS safely with the 767.

The two other major elements of the plan, the ETOPS qualification of the 767-300ER and the documentation and certification testing by Boeing and UPS, are largely complete. General Electric-powered versions of the passenger 767-300ER have had 180min ETOPS clearance since 1989.

"We have presented a plan to the FAA, to get 180min ETOPS and we have tentative approval, once we've finished our proving runs", says the package freight company. These began on 16 October, following delivery of the first aircraft to the UPS base in Louisville, Kentucky and are expected to be completed by 27 October, (Flight International, 18-24 October).

Despite the ETOPS initiative, initial 767 operations will be limited from early November to US flights until "discussions" are complete between UPS and its pilots over crewing arrangements for flights lasting longer than 8h. The FAA requires a relief crewmember, either a captain or first officer, to be aboard a flight of this length. UPS pilots say that either rank is sufficient, but are believed to be pressing for a new pay scale for the relief crewmember.

The strike at Boeing also presents UPS with another hurdle in its attempt to introduce five 767s by the end of 1995. Boeing and UPS are discussing contingency plans, ranging from short-term leases of other freighters, to the temporary use of the fourth and fifth aircraft, in semi-completed form.

UPS has firm orders for 30 767s, plus options on 30. Eleven are due, to be delivered in 1996.

Source: Flight International