(Reuters) - Europe's Airbus has won European safety approval that would allow its new A350 long-haul passenger jet to fly almost any commercial route, sources familiar with the matter said.
The European Aviation Safety Agency has officially granted the twin-engined jet Extended Operations, known as ETOPS, of "beyond 180 minutes", but will allow pilots to fly the A350 for up to 370 minutes in the event one engine shuts down.
ETOPS rules determine the maximum flying time that jets can be from the nearest airport at any point during their journey, in the event of engine failure.
In turn, they determine the routes that modern twin-engined jets can take over deserted areas and oceans and are therefore seen as crucial to the sales pitches for such aircraft.
The ETOPS rules are subject to separate clearances that must be sought by each airline.
EASA and Airbus declined to comment.
Boeing's 787 Dreamliner has clearance to operate for 330 minutes on one engine, but the difference between the two categories is widely viewed as a marketing one since both jets will have enough margin to operate on most commercial routes.
Reuters reported on Sept 30 that European regulators, having granted the main airworthiness or 'type certificate' approval for Airbus's new long-haul jet, were looking separately at granting it an ETOPS margin of 370 minutes.
It is the first time a wide-body jet has been granted such autonomy before entering service, but questions remain over whether and when the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration will issue similar flexibility for airlines under its jurisdiction.
The FAA said last week it would grant its own safety certification for the A350 by the end of October.
"We can’t speculate on what ETOPS rating the A350 may receive because we haven’t yet awarded the type certificate," a spokesman for the agency said later, asked about its stance towards extended operations for the jet.
EASA certifies A350 XWB for up to 370 minute ETOPS First new airliner ever to be approved before EIS for “ETOPS Beyond 180 minutes”
Includes an option for up to 370 minute maximum diversion time, for the most efficient, reliable and direct long-range routings of any two-engined aircraft.
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has approved the new A350-900 airliner for ETOPS (Extended-range Twin engine aircraft Operations) ‘Beyond 180 minutes’ diversion time. This significant achievement marks the A350 XWB as being the first new aircraft type ever to receive such a level of ETOPS approval prior to entry into service (EIS). Moreover, this means that operators will benefit from the most efficient, reliable and direct long-range routings of any two-engined aircraft. The FAA’s respective ETOPS certification of the A350 is expected soon.
The approval which includes ETOPS 180min in the basic specification also includes provisions for ‘ETOPS 300min’ and ‘ETOPS 370min’ depending on individual operator selection. The latter option extends the diversion distance up to an unprecedented 2,500nm – a distance which corresponds to a maximum ETOPS diversion time for the A350 of approximately 370 minutes, at one-engine-inoperative speed under standard atmospheric conditions.
A350 operators will thus be able to serve new direct non-limiting routings, compared with a 180 minute ETOPS diversion time: The ETOPS 370min option will be of particular benefit for new direct southern routes such as between Australia, South Africa and South America; while the ETOPS 300min option will facilitate more efficient transoceanic routes across the North and Mid-Pacific – such as from South East Asia to US, and Australasia to the US. Meanwhile, operators flying on existing routes (currently flown with up to 180 minute diversion time) will be able to traverse a straighter and consequently quicker and more fuel efficient path, and also have access to more – and possibly better equipped – en-route diversion airports if needed.
The granting of this ETOPS capability prior to the A350’s EIS is a testimony to the development teams’ emphasis on securing the aircraft’s design and systems maturity, which had to be demonstrated as equivalent to that of a proven ETOPS aircraft such as its widebody sibling – the versatile and extremely reliable A330. The latter has proven the robustness of its systems as demonstrated in over 30 million flight hours in almost seven million flights.
The A350 XWB is Airbus’ all-new mid-size long range product line and the newest member of Airbus' leading widebody family. The type sets new standards in terms of passenger experience, operational efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Around 70 percent of A350 flight hours will be ETOPS. At the end of September 2014, the A350 XWB had won 750 orders from 39 customers worldwide.
Notes for Editors: “ETOPS” is a set of rules initially introduced by International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in the mid-1980s to allow commercial operations with twin-engine aircraft on routes beyond 60min flying time from the nearest airport and which were previously operated only by aircraft with more than two engines. These rules, which are now named “EDTO” (Extended Diversion Time Operations) by ICAO have been progressively revised to allow operations beyond 180min diversion time. In 2009, the Airbus A330 became the first airliner to gain an ETOPS ‘Beyond 180min’ certification, when it was granted an ETOPS 240min certification by EASA. As of today, Airbus twin-engined airliners have accumulated over 16 million ETOPS flight hours, out of which over 12 million have been accumulated by the A330 models.
Doha-Francoforte per il debutto dell'A350 di Qatar Airways
Sarà Francoforte la destinazione che vedrà il debutto commerciale del nuovo A350.
L'aereo, con la livrea di Qatar Airways, compagnia scelta da Airbus per l'avvio dei collegamenti, atterrerà nello scalo tedesco a partire dal prossimo mese di gennaio e il volo porterà il codice QR 067/068. E sarà sempre la stessa rotta a 'ospitare' anche il secondo A350 in flotta, completando così il bigiornaliero tra Doha e Francoforte.
Il velivolo sarà configuration con 247 posti in economy e 36 in business class. TTG
Il primo aeromobile Airbus A350 XWB destinato a Vietnam Airlines con contratto di leasing da parte di AerCap ha raggiunto la stazione n. 30 presso la linea di assemblaggio finale (FAL) Roger Béteille, a Tolosa. Questo importante traguardo segna il completamento dell’assemblaggio di alcuni dei principali componenti della struttura dell’aeromobile, così come la prima accensione dell’impianto elettrico, avvenuta con successo Presso la stazione n. 30 l’aeromobile sarà sottoposto a test a terra e proseguirà l’installazione della cabina, cominciata presso la stazione precedente, la n. 40. In seguito alla consegna dell’aeromobile, in programma per la metà del 2015, Vietnam Airlines diventerà il primo vettore asiatico a operare l’A350 XWB e il secondo operatore al mondo di questo nuovo ed efficiente aeromobile widebody. Vietnam Airlines ha ordinato un totale di 10 A350 XWB, e riceverà ulteriori 4 aeromobili da parte di locatori terzi, tra cui AerCap. L’aeromobile sarà operato sulle principali rotte a lungo raggio del vettore. AerCap (già ILFC) ha ordinato un totale di 20 A350 XWB. Quando entrerà in servizio, nel quarto trimestre 2014, l’A350 XWB porterà un cambiamento radicale in termini di efficienza rispetto agli aeromobili già esistenti della stessa categoria, offrendo una riduzione dei consumi di carburante e delle emissioni di CO2 pari al 25%. A oggi, l’A350 XWB ha già totalizzato 750 ordini fermi da parte di 39 clienti in tutto il mondo.