- July 4, 2013, 2:55 AM

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) granted ATR 120-minute Etops certification of its new -600 series turboprops last month. This Etops (Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards) certification means that the ATR 42-600 and ATR 72-600 versions can now fly as far as 120 minutes (on one engine) from any airport at which they can land. It therefore allows aircraft to provide direct links between airports located four flight hours from each other (two hours maximum flight time from the departure airport plus two hours maximum flight time to the closest diversion airport).

The ATR 42 and ATR 72 remain the only regional turboprops to hold 120-minute Etops certification. The distinction, according to ATR, makes them particularly useful in regions such as French Polynesia or Siberia, where the distances between the two closest airports can extend to more than 1,000 nm. The certification allows for more direct flight plans between departure points and the final destination, thereby cutting journey time, fuel consumption and emissions.