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Wed, May 10, 2006

Airbus Receives 180-Minute ETOPS Cert From FAA On Most Single-Aisle Planes

Still Pending On The A318; Others Good To Go

Airbus has been in the news a lot lately, mostly for issues involving the upcoming A350. But here's a little bit of good news from that company... the Federal Aviation Administration has approved the European consortium's A319, A320 and A321 airliners for extended range twin-engine operations of up to 180 minutes.

The ETOPS certification -- which follows similar approval granted by the European Aircraft Safety Authority (EASA) in March 2004 -- means those airliners may now operate with the FAA's blessing on routes that are up to three hours flying time from the nearest airport.

An International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) rule, ETOPS defines how long a certain aircraft type is allowed to fly on only one engine, should its second engine fail in flight.

The first Airbus aircraft to be 180-minute ETOPS certified by the FAA -- an A319 corporate jet -- is planned to be delivered in May to an undisclosed US customer.

In a corporate statement, Airbus says the 180-minute ETOPS Type Design approval recognizes the company's compliance with current US ETOPS rules, and is a reflection on the A320 family's the significant ETOPS experience accumulated worldwide under previous lower-time limitations.

As you may have already noticed, the A318 isn't mentioned. Airbus is still working to get ETOPS approval for the smallest member of the A320 family, which the company expects to receive from both EASA and FAA by the second half of 2006.

When that happens, the entire line of Airbus single-aisle aircraft will be ETOPS certified.

FMI: www.airbus.com

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