The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday increased the limits of Boeing 787 extended twin-engine operations (ETOPS) from 180 to 330 minutes, Boeing announced on Wednesday. The approval allows the Dreamliner to operate as far as 330 minutes away from a diversion airfield, thereby allowing for more direct routes between long-range city pairs, particularly over the Pacific Ocean. The expanded operational permission could also allow airlines to open new routes after they meet the so-called proof of capabilities requirements and receive approval from their own regulatory agencies for such operations. Boeing 787s have operated under 180-minute ETOPS since they entered service in 2011.
“Our customers are eager to expand their 787 operations,” said Larry Loftis, vice president and general manager, 787 program, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “We're delighted that this capability, which was designed into the airplane from the very beginning, has been certified.”
During a recent media event held by Boeing in Seattle, program managers indicated that the 787-9, scheduled for certification this summer, would gain its initial airworthiness approval with 180-minute ETOPS capability, but that the company’s campaign to expand the larger airplane’s limit to 330 minutes would run in tandem with its 787-8 efforts.