747-8I First Flight K65204-04

MIAMI — Boeing has announced that the 747-8 Intercontinental aircraft has received the 330-minute Extended Operations (ETOPS) approval from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), marking another significant operational milestone in the 747 program as it became the first four-engine aircraft ever in receiving this type of certification.

ETOPS had been a requirement for twinjets since its introduction three decades ago. However, the revised regulation 14 CFR 121.161 now requires four-engine passenger airplanes built after February 2015 to observe ETOPS if the flight route is more than 180 minutes, at single-engine speeds, and away from a suitable diversionary or emergency en-route airfield.

This new rating extends the maximum distance the 747-8 can fly away for 150 minutes, thus benefitting operators to fly most direct routes through remote geographic zones such as the south Pacific and some areas in Africa, covering virtually any global city pair routing.

ETOPS is not applicable to four-engine cargo aircraft, and government-owned aircraft (including military).

“The 747-8 already offers fuel savings from an improved aerodynamic design. Flying long-distance routes directly help our customers fly even more efficiently — saving fuel and emitting less carbon dioxide,” said Bruce Dickinson, vice president, and general manager, 747 program, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

Lufthansa is the largest Boeing 747-8 operator, with a total of 17 units. The German carrier placed an order for 20 aircraft in December 2006 (Credits: Lufthansa)

Since its first flight on February 20, 2010, Boeing has delivered a total of 83 747-8s to eleven customers. According to the manufacturer, the combined aircraft fleet has logged up more than 619,000 flight hours and over 101,000 flight cycles.