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.