At a media event in Montreal today, Airbus announced that the smallest members of their aircraft family – the A220 family has been cleared for ETOP180 operation.
ETOPS (Extended Operations) allows for a plane to operate with one engine degraded, and to flight times between diversion airports – in this case, rated for 180 minutes – or up to three hours.
The certification from Transport Canada, with US FAA and EU EASA ETOPS certification still pending approval.
This in itself opens up a lot of possibilities – both in use and configuration. At the event, Airbus showed some of the route pairs that could be launched.
Some examples were given by Airbus – with a range of up to 3,200nm/5,600km – include
- London to New York
- Honolulu to Los Angeles
- Seoul to Darwin (Australia)
It also opens up the network to thin and light routes. A good example of the use of a thin and light route is the Riga to Abu Dhabi operated by airBaltic – with 6 hours plus in the air using an Airbus A220-300.
The A220 is powered and qualified against the Pratt and Whitney PurePower PW1500G engines, which are used in the family of aircraft.
Another step forward, but don’t expect these new services to start overnight
So it’s great to see Airbus has got the A220 family certified for longer diversions and operations. However, don’t expect to see these new routes pop up in your booking engine soon.
It takes time for an airline to work out if a route can be viable, let alone profitable. There’s also the small matter of getting the actual aircraft onto the route to operate.
Which takes time and money.
For now, this gives current and new operators of the Airbus A220 an important thing – options and flexibility.
And if the numbers add up – maybe some very interesting route pairs.
H/T Chris Sloan at @airchive for the original tweet.
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