Boeing 777 Loses Long-Range ETOPS Limitations
Aircraft Gets Green Light to Fly 5 ½ Hours From Nearest Airport
Boeing and airlines flying the 777 have received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly 330 minutes (or five and one-half hours) extended range operations (ETOPS) flights. The approval covers certain Boeing 777 aircraft, including 777-300ER (extended range), 777-200LR (longer range), 777 Freighter, and 777-200ER.
The approval will allow more direct routing of flights that are currently routed to fly no more than 207 minutes from a diversionary or emergency airfield at single-engine speeds.
The ETOPS extension is being phased in. Airlines, which must get individual FAA approval for ETOPS, must operate the aircraft for one year at no more than 240 minutes from the closest airport. Afterwards, they will be permitted to expand to 330 minutes.
Airlines that fly over the North Pole, in the south Pacific, and from Australia to South America and southern Africa will be able to take the most direct routes.
Earlier this month, Air New Zealand became the first airline to fly a 240-minute ETOPS flight, from Los Angeles to Auckland, N.Z.
The move is good for passengers, the airlines, and the environment by allowing more direct flights, burning less fuel, and emitting less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
“What this means is that the airplane is able to fly a straighter route between the city pairs and that’s good for the environment,” said Capt. David Morgan, chief pilot for Air New Zealand.