Although the A350 is ready for service, it will not be able to fly on the longest oceanic routes for which it was designed until Airbus also receives clearance for extended operations, which its executives expect to happen within days or weeks.
A350 Chief Engineer McConnell believes it may take several more weeks to get the initial Extended Twin Operations (ETOPS) clearance. He said ETOPS will be “perfectly adequate” for the needs of the operators. A European safety official said the aircraft would be authorized to fly on virtually any world route.
Airbus is also waiting for certification from the FAA, but question marks remain over how quickly and extensively the U.S. regulator will grant extended operations after problems with the entry to service of the 787.
The ability to fly long routes over water is determined by the amount of time an aircraft is allowed to operate on one engine in the event that the other engine fails.
The EASA certification document indicates that there will be an ETOPS 180 minutes approval and a separate approval for ETOPS beyond that limit, neither of which has been issued yet. Industry sources said Airbus had asked European authorities to clear the A350 to fly for up to 370 minutes on one engine, exceeding the so-called ETOPS limit of 330 minutes on the 787.
All pictures are © Airbus
Based on the article “Airbus wins European approval for its new A350 jet” published in Reuters.