EASA is consulting on plans to rationalize its regulations on extended diversion times for aircraft operators in the event that an engine fails. The just-issued Notice of Proposed Amendment 2023-03 would see existing ICAO Amendment 36 Annex 6 Part 1 standards for extended twin-engined operations (ETOPS) incorporated into European Union law, largely unchanged, with the European air safety agency also taking the opportunity to “improve clarity and consistency” of existing ETOPS and extended diversion time operations requirements.
According to EASA, its overriding objective is to ensure that all aircraft operators achieve the same level of safety in long-range operations. More specifically, it says it intends to ensure that all relevant ICAO Annex 6 Part 1 requirements are reflected in European legislation, including the Air Ops operational rules, as well as achieving consistency in the way the regulations are applied.
The only exception to the proposed change would be for aircraft with more than two engines to be exempt from the ICAO threshold of 180 minutes of flight time to a suitable diversion airport. EASA maintains that this requirement is unjustifiably burdensome in administrative terms since it only applies to a handful of European operators and that the routes impacted are somewhat peripheral.
Industry stakeholders have until August 14 to respond to the NPA.