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777X And Etops  
User currently offlineTrent From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 0 posts, RR: 0
Posted (16 years 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 2142 times:

I have noticed the increasing number of posts about airlines choosing between the 777X and the A340-500/600 for future orders. Many people have stated that ETOPS is a big factor in the decision. With airlines such as Qantas and South African Airways who have destinations across wide spans of ocean (e.g. Johannesburg to New York or Melbourne to Cape Town, etc.) doesn't this automatically mean that the 777X is out of the question since twin engine operations are not yet permitted for such a long over-water distance? What is strange to me is if such long distance operations for the 777X are not permitted, then it sort of makes the 777X an oddity--it can fly ultra-long distances over water, however because of regulations, it will not be allowed. So, why do airlines seem to continue with the debate of what aircraft to order and why does Boeing still continue to advertise the 777X a great success in ultra long range operations. The choice should be clear for airlines based on ETOPS regulations on whether a two engined aircraft is viable versus a four engined aircraft. To me, this whole debate seems more complex than it should be. From my perspective, the rules are the rules.


7 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineSammyk From United States of America, joined Oct 1999, 1701 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (16 years 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 2028 times:
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Maybe because 207 minutes ETOPS has been approved for the 777? Granted only for the North Pacific and on a case by case basis, but surely it may get approval elsewhere, and on a broader scope. Who knows, maybe even 240 minutes ETOPS will be approved soon enough.


User currently offlineMagyar From Hungary, joined Feb 2000, 599 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (16 years 23 hours ago) and read 2009 times:

I am not a technical expert, but it is hard to believe that the B777
would be so exceptional among the twin jets to deserve the only
exception from ETOPS constrain. They should be eased for all
modern twins or none.

I can understand if FAA gives Boeing a "little tail wind" but isn't
that B777 thing is too obvious? Or I am just too new in these
aviation businesses?


User currently offlineRavi From Singapore, joined Oct 2005, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (16 years 16 hours ago) and read 1996 times:

I think, Trent, that you have misunderstood how ETOPS is applied on the routes you have mentioned. I guess we would agree that ETOPS is of no issue on the North Atlantic or North Pacific, but is certainly an issue for the lesser routes of the South Atlantic, South Pacific, and Indian Oceans.

Now, 180 minutes ETOPS services ARE available for the last three major oceans. The reason why ETOPS is an issue for these regions is in the event of the shutdown of two or three alternates due to seasonal weather issues. Now, a major international airline studied this, and found that on the South Pacific and Indian Oceans, in particular, the shutting down of those airports would prevent ANY operations regarding of engine multiplicity and due to that particular airline's operations manual. A quadjet could still service the region, BUT the airline WOULD NOT allow it to do so. This happens about 8-10 days per year.

Essentially twinjets ARE allowed to fly these routes, so long as they meet ETOPS criteria.

Hope this helps.

User currently offlineTrent From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (16 years 11 hours ago) and read 1977 times:

Ravi, I think I can see your point. However, wouldn't an airline who chose a twin jet be inundated with "red tape" (i.e. paper work, legal stuff, etc.) This from my point of view would be one factor when deciding to choose the number of engines on my aircraft... This is just wasted time and energy. Just as one person had posted a few months ago, "just because a twinjet can fly for 180 or 207 from the nearest airport over water, should it really be allowed to do so?" I mean, we're talking about passengers who will be nervous wrecks for a couple of hours until their crippled aircraft can land... I don't mean to sound biased, but for me, the choice between a twin-engined aircraft and four-engined aircraft should be more obvious. I guess it's a question of ethics. I hope I am making sense.

User currently offlineD L X From United States of America, joined May 1999, 12249 posts, RR: 51
Reply 5, posted (16 years 10 hours ago) and read 1975 times:

I'm not sure where all of this red tape would come from. The simple fact is twinjets are more efficient than their quad counterparts for lots of aeronautical reasons that I don't 100% understand, so I can't explain. An airline will make its choice of equipment almost completely based on costs. If there is a need to hire someone to handle ETOPS legalities, then that would be added in with the costs.

"just because a twinjet can fly for 180 or 207 from the nearest airport over water, should it really be allowed to do so?"

Why not? Do you realize that ETOPS flights are actually safer than the others because of the special procedures? Also, there have been no incidents where ETOPS has come even close to failure. (As in ditching, crash, damaged plane, etc.)

"I mean, we're talking about passengers who will be nervous wrecks for a couple of hours until their crippled aircraft can land"

Well, passengers are nervous wrecks all the time, even when there is nothing wrong with a plane. A 4 engined or 3 engined jet that loses an engine will send half the crowd into hysteria anyways. You don't benefit from having more engines in that regard. Besides, notice how when a quadjet gets a catastrophic engine failure, it often takes another engine with it? I'd much rather be on the twin with one engine than a quad with two.

Check out this link for a pilot's perspective on the 2 vs. 4 issue.


BTW, I totally think that ETOPS loses most of its advantages for airlines in the southern hemisphere. I expect Qantas and SAA will go 340, although the 777x isn't that bad for either of them. It just can't go between South Africa and Australia or South America and Australia.

Send me a PM at http://www.airliners.net/aviation-forums/sendmessage.main?from_username=NULL
User currently offlineBoeingrulz From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 546 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (16 years 5 hours ago) and read 1958 times:
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The additional improvements in aviation hardware, maintainance procedures and operational procedures necessary for ETOPS opperation actually make flying a twin safter, no matter how far over water the plane flys.

Sevearl airlines (UAL, TWA) have discovered that the costs of ETOPS maintainance is offset by the benefits to the point that they are maintaining their non-ETOPS twin jets to the same standards. Now if you said that flying a four engine plane maintained and operated at ETOPS standards is safer than an ETOPS twin, then I may agree.


User currently offlineRavi From Singapore, joined Oct 2005, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (16 years 3 hours ago) and read 1945 times:

Trent, goto http://www.fly.to/avia3710 for an indepth look at the issues. It makes for a good read written by a buddy of mine.

D L X... I enjoy your posts always, but the fact remains that twinjets CAN fly between those destinations that you outlined in your last paragraph under 180 minutes ETOPS.

[Not directing this comment at anyone in particular] - the aviation media, unfortunately, thinks it knows all about ETOPS when it infact doesn't. I am one of the few who are 100% convinced that twinjets are safer than quadjets.

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