The Airbus A220 has won approval from Transport Canada for 180-minute extended operations that will allow it to fly further over water and remote regions.
The 180-minute Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards (ETOPS) rating means the airliner can fly on routes up to 180 minutes from the nearest airport suitable for a diversion.
It opens up to the aircraft routes such as London-New York, Honolulu-Los Angeles, Seoul-Darwin and Auckland-Papeete (Tahiti).
The aircraft, originally the Bombardier C Series, is the first commercial airliner to obtain domestic ETOPS certification from Transport Canada and the capability applies to both the A220-100 and the bigger A220-300.
“Being the only in-production aircraft in its class capable of performing both steep approach and long-range operations, the A220 is definitely unlocking new route opportunities for airlines,” said A220 head of engineering and customer support Rob Dewar.
The fuel-efficient Pratt & Whitney PW1500G engine powering the A220 was granted 180-minute ETOPS by the US Federal Aviation Administration last year but approval for the aircraft is pending. Neither the engine nor the plane have European approval at this stage.
“It’s expected that some countries will rely on the manufacturer certification only (Transport Canada in this case), whereas others will rely on either FAA or EASA,” Airbus said in a statement to AirlineRatings.
The geared turbofan engines combine with advanced aerodynamics to offer at least a 20 percent lower fuel burn per seat compared to previous generation aircraft and a range of up to 3,200 nautical miles (5,920 km).
The A220 currently has an order book of more than 537 aircraft and Airbus is looking to lower production costs and build the aircraft in the US as well as Canada.
A groundbreaking ceremony for the A220 plant in Mobile, Alabama, took place on January 16 and the facilities will be complete by next year.
But fierce competition is shaping up in the 100-150-seat market after the Brazilian government recently approved Boeing’s $US4.2 billion bid to take a majority stake in a joint venture with Embraer.
The Boeing deal will see the US company take an 80 percent ownership of the joint venture for $US4.2 billion, with Embraer taking the remaining 20 percent.
It will pit Embraer’s E-Jet family against the A220s in regional and medium-haul markets.