…Information “Inaccurate”…


Under the rule, operators would be required to remain within 180 minutes of an “adequate airport” on all flights outside the continental U.S. But by meeting additional ETOPS operational and equipment requirements, the FAA would permit a 240-minute (four-hour) single-engine diversion. In its comments, the NBAA echoed NATA’s concerns about the lack of information and also caught a major inaccuracy in the FAA’s assessment of economic impact. The NPRM says that no flights beyond 180 minutes’ diversion range are now permitted, so the new rule will actually give operators willing to pay extra for the 240-minute standard more flexibility and save them $777 million over 10 years. Contrarily, the NBAA and NATA say no such 180-minute rule exists and that the FAA routinely allows flights beyond that time limit and therefore the economic analysis is without basis. The NBAA says that the costs of compliance to the new rule could put some small operators out of business. Among them would be air ambulance operators who fly from Hawaii to the West Coast, some of whom would be beyond the 240-minute cap. It suggests an exemption for those operators. The General Aviation Manufacturers Association agrees with the 180-minute diversion limit but suggests the new regs be phased in.