Airbus A330-900 gets 285-min ETOPS approval

written by australianaviation.com.au | February 5, 2019
Airbus A330-900 flying display on Day 1 of Farnborough 2018. (Airbus)
Airbus A330-900 flying display on Day 1 of Farnborough 2018. (Airbus)

Airbus says its A330-900 widebody has received regulatory approval to operate up to 285 minutes from a suitable landing field.

The extended twin engine aircraft operations (ETOPS) certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) means the A330-900 can be flown on a route that keeps it within four hours and 45 minutes flying time on a single engine from an alternate airport in the event of an engine failure.

Airbus said the extension of ETOPS approvals to 285 minutes, from 180 minutes previously, represented a potential air diversion distance of about 2,000nm. The airframer said a similar approval from the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was expected soon.

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The 285-minute ETOPS would be available as an option for A330-900 operators.

“A330neo operators which choose the ETOPS 285 min. option will be able to serve new direct ‘non-limiting’ routings,” Airbus said in a statement in late January.

“Meanwhile, operators flying on existing routes (currently flown with up to 180-minute diversion time) will be able to traverse a straighter, quicker and more fuel efficient path, and also have access to more – and possibly better equipped – en-route diversion airports if needed.”

TAP Portugal became the first airline to take delivery of the A330neo family of aircraft after accepting A330-900 CS-TUB at Airbus’ headquarters in Toulouse in late November.

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The airline has 21 A330-900s on order. It has configured the aircraft with 34 business class seats, 96 economy plus seats and 168 economy class seats for a total of 298.

Airbus has delivered the first A330-900 to launch customer TAP Portugal. (Airbus)
Airbus has delivered the first A330-900 to launch customer TAP Portugal. (Airbus)

Launched at the Farnborough Airshow in 2014, the A330neo is powered by new Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines and has a larger wing with “Sharklet” wingtips to reduce fuel consumption.

The type also features new composite nacelles, a fully faired titanium pylon and zero-splice air inlet technology.

The A330neo is also the launch aircraft for Airbus’s “AirSpace by Airbus” cabin concept which features larger overhead compartments, wider seats and aisles and new lighting, a “welcome area” and removal of the inflight entertainment box taking up legroom under the seat in front.

There are two A330neo variants – the A330-800 is the replacement for the A330-200, while the A330-900 is the replacement for the larger A330-300.

There is 95 per cent commonality between the A330neo and current A330 variants. It also shares a common pilot type rating with the Airbus A350 family.

The A330-200 has a typical range of 7,250nm when seating 247 passengers, according to the Airbus website, while the A330-800 will have a range of 8,150nm with 257 passengers in a three-class layout.

Meanwhile, the A330-300’s typical range is 6,350nm with a 277-passenger configuration, compared with 7,200nm for the A330-900 configured with 287 seats in three classes.

Airbus began flight tests of the A330-800 in early November 2018.

The A330-800 flight test campaign was expected to involve 300 flight hours, with certification expected in 2019, Airbus has said previously.

An infographic on the Airbus A330-900. (Airbus)
An infographic on the Airbus A330-900. (Airbus)

Aircalin the only A330neo customer in Oceania

Aircalin became the first (and still only) A330neo customer in Oceania in November 2016 when the New Caledonia-based airline put pen to paper for two A330-900s to replace its existing A330-200s.

In this part of the world, Fiji Airways and Qantas both operate the A330-200 and A330-300, while Aircalin and Virgin Australia have just the smaller A330-200.

An artist's impression of an Airbus A330-900 in Aircalin livery. (Airbus)
An artist’s impression of an Airbus A330-900 in Aircalin livery. (Airbus)

At December 31 2018, Airbus had received 238 A330neo orders, according to its website.

Of those, 230 are for the larger A330-900, with Kuwait Airways the only airline that has opted for the A330-800 after it signed a purchase agreement for eight of the type in October.

Hawaiian Airlines was previously an A330-800 customer. However it cancelled an order for six A330-800s in March 2018 in favour of operating the Boeing 787-9.


VIDEO: A look at the making of TAP Portugal’s first A330-900 from the Airbus YouTube channel.

2 Comments

  • Dean

    says:

    Would the A330-900 be able to make the Sydney – Santiago run? I know a 240min Etops was sketchy but does the additional 45m make any difference?

    • Lechuga

      says:

      I don’t see why not, if LATAM can do a Melbourne to Santiago direct on the 787 why can’t Sydney be done too? 787 or A330NEO, it should be doable.

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