The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has granted ´beyond 180 minutes’ diversion time Extended Operations (ETOPS) for the Airbus A350 family aircraft.
According to Airbus, the approval means that the first FAA-affiliated operators will be able to fly more direct routes over oceans and other places with en-route alternate airports over six hours away.
The approval, which includes now a basic 180-minute ETOPS, also included provisions for 300 minutes—corresponding to a 2,000 nautical miles (3,704km.) maximum diversion with a single engine inoperative “under standard atmospheric conditions.” Airbus said in a statement.
To date, five carriers in the world operate the A350 (Qatar Airways, Vietnam Airlines, Finnair, TAM and Singapore Airlines). As the airliner accumulates additional in-service experience, it would be granted a further provision for 370-minute ETOPS, which would extend the maximum diversion distance up to 2,500 nautical miles (4,630 km.)
Each of the U.S. big three carriers have ordered the A350. Delta opted to order 25 of the A350-900, while American Airlines inherited their order from US Airways for 18 A350-800s and four A350-900s, which was subsequently converted to 22 A350-900s. United Airlines ordered 25 A350-900 aircraft in March 2010, and in June 2013, converted the order to 35 of the larger A350-1000.
At the end of April 2016, the A350 XWB had won 803 orders from 43 customers worldwide, including the recent order from China Eastern Airlines for 20 A350-900s, and the confirmation of the order for six A350-900s placed by Philippine Airlines during the Singapore Air Show.