QANTAS747-438
Topic Author
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Etops Certification Process

Mon Sep 06, 2010 9:30 am

With all the recent talk of WN getting -800s and possible routes to Hawaii, I was wondering what the process is to certify an airline for ETOPS?

1) What is the exact process of ETOPS for an airline who hasn't done it before?
2) Everyone says how "costly" it would be to an airline. What costs are involved, aside from pilot training?
3) What would have to be done or added to a normal 737-700/800 in order to make it ETOPS certified?
4) Does the fact that Southwest already has 737 experience help the process at all?

[Edited 2010-09-06 02:30:57]
My posts/replies are strictly my opinion and not that of any company, organization, or Southwest Airlines.
 
dispatchguy
Posts: 606
Joined: Sun Jan 29, 2006 6:08 am

RE: Etops Certification Process

Mon Sep 06, 2010 2:07 pm

Quoting QANTAS747-438 (Thread starter):
1) What is the exact process of ETOPS for an airline who hasn't done it before?

Go to fsims.faa.gov, and do a search on ETOPS - more details then you would ever want to know

Quoting QANTAS747-438 (Thread starter):
2) Everyone says how "costly" it would be to an airline. What costs are involved, aside from pilot training?

Mechanic training, changes to your entire maintenance program as you would also require an ETOPS program - as ETOPS is about 50/50 between flight ops and maintenance. Since SWA has no current ETOPS experience, I see this as their biggest hurdle

Quoting QANTAS747-438 (Thread starter):
3) What would have to be done or added to a normal 737-700/800 in order to make it ETOPS certified?

That all depends on the Configuration, Maintenance and Procedures document by Boeing; it defines, down to the part number for specific items, which are acceptable for the aircraft to be considered to be an ETOPS airplane.

Quoting QANTAS747-438 (Thread starter):
Does the fact that Southwest already has 737 experience help the process at all?

They may have the experience with the airframe generally, but they have no internal processes to maintain an ETOPS operation, so no, I dont really think so.
Nobody screws you better than an airline job!
 
HAL
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RE: Etops Certification Process

Mon Sep 06, 2010 4:54 pm

Certainly it can be done by any airline, however the biggest factor is money - as in 'how much do we have to spend?'. The answer has always been 'more than you expect'. The process is long and expensive, which is one reason I've questioned Allegiant's plan to obtain 757's, certify them and themselves for ETOPS, yet still offer rock-bottom fares. There is no getting around the process of ETOPS certification, and that process is expensive. With all those costs involved I just wonder how Allegiant (or even WN) would be able to offer such universally cheap fares when their expenses (CASM) jump so much because of the certification process.

It will be interesting to watch though.

HAL
One smooth landing is skill. Two in a row is luck. Three in a row and someone is lying.
 
sunrisevalley
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Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2004 3:26 am

RE: Etops Certification Process

Tue Sep 07, 2010 12:16 am

Quoting HAL (Reply 2):
There is no getting around the process of ETOPS certification, and that process is expensive.

The operating costs to maintain ETOPS is also very expensive. Engine removals , as one example, will be generally at lower on wing hours. Can't afford too many in flight shutdowns before the ETOPS certificate is in jeopardy.
 
dispatchguy
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RE: Etops Certification Process

Tue Sep 07, 2010 3:35 am

Plus, with the new ETOPS approvals coming out of Washington (OpSpecs B342), there is now a use it or lose it provision. If you acquire an ETOPS authority, but fail to use it for a period of six months in theater of ops as well as the time authority, the FAA can revoke said authority.

So lets say an air carrier has 120 and 180 across the Atlantic, and gets a wonderful string of excellent weather and for a 6 month time frame, never dispatches 180 across the Atlantic - the feds can revoke their 180 authority. If they want it back, they need to go thru the whole process of recertifying a 180 operation to get it back.

Now, I dispatch a flight 180 across the Atlantic just cuz at least once a week so I can keep our 180 operation "lubed up" so to speak.
Nobody screws you better than an airline job!
 
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Web500sjc
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RE: Etops Certification Process

Tue Sep 07, 2010 6:01 am

Quoting dispatchguy (Reply 4):
there is now a use it or lose it provision.

what is that for? can the FAA only give out so many ETOPS certifactions?
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tdscanuck
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:25 am

RE: Etops Certification Process

Tue Sep 07, 2010 4:20 pm

Quoting web500sjc (Reply 5):
Quoting dispatchguy (Reply 4):
there is now a use it or lose it provision.

what is that for? can the FAA only give out so many ETOPS certifactions?

There's no limit on the number of certifications, it just forces operators to maintain proficiency.

If you go through all the effort to stand up an ETOPS-180 capable organization, then don't actually fly it for ages, it's pretty likely that some processes and competencies will lapse.

Tom.

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