Boeing To Offer up to 330-Minute ETOPS on 777

 - December 12, 2011, 5:04 PM
Air New Zealand flew its first 240-minute ETOPS route with a 777-300ER earlier this month. (Photo: Boeing)

Boeing has received type-design approval from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for up to 330-minute extended operations (ETOPS) for its 777 fleet, the manufacturer announced today.

The authorization allows 777 customers who acquire or already operate General Electric GE90-powered 777-300ERs, 777-200LRs, 777 Freighters and 777-200ERs to fly up to 330 minutes from an alternate airport. Boeing expects the FAA to issue approval for the 777-200ER equipped with Rolls-Royce and Pratt & Whitney engines within the next few months.

The new FAA approval allows airlines that operate routes in the South Pacific, over the North Pole, and from Australia to South America and southern Africa to fly the most direct routes. “Boeing twin-engine jets have flown more than 7 million ETOPS flights since 1985, and more than 120 Boeing operators fly more than 50,000 ETOPS flights each month,” said Larry Loftis, vice president and general manager 777 program. “This is the logical continuation of the Boeing philosophy of point-to-point service. Passengers want to minimize their overall travel time. This is one more step in that direction.”  

The first airline to buy the new longer ETOPS option—Air New Zealand—completed the first 240 ETOPS flight earlier this month with a Los Angeles-to-Auckland-bound 777-300ER. FAA regulations require that an airline that buys the option must fly 240-minute ETOPS operations for one year before it can start flying 330-minute ETOPS routes.

“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. “Less fuel is burned and less carbon dioxide is emitted into the atmosphere. It’s also good for customers because flights are potentially shorter and passengers could arrive sooner at their destinations.”