Airbus has received approval from European regulators (EASA) to fly the A350 on a single-engine for up to 370 minutes from the nearest airfield, in a decision that opens up new long distance routes for airlines.
The European Aviation Safety Agency cleared the A350 for commercial service on 30/Sep, but held off on setting the single-engine operations limit as it continued analyzing flight test data provided by Airbus.
The A350 team conducted tests over the summer to demonstrate that the aircraft could contain fire in the cargo hold over the period and demonstrate the reliability of a range of onboard systems.
The A350’s ability to fly for 6 hours and 10 minutes means that it easily beats the 787 Dreamliner, which can fly for 5 hours and 12 minutes on one engine.
However, the performance of both aircraft means that ultralong polar and overseas routes are now open for airline operators. Some of the new, nonstop routes that would be open to twin-engine jets include trips from Australia to Brazil, or New Zealand to South Africa.
Source: David Barrie
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.
Based on the press release “EASA certifies A350 XWB for up to 370 minute ETOPS”.