A major step forward in the ongoing operational development of the aircraft formally known as the Bombardier CSeries, the Airbus A220 occurred when the Canadian Civil Aviation Authority, Transport Canada gave approval for 180-minute extended operations. The milestone approval was granted to both the A220-100 model and the larger A220-300.

This means the baby Airbus aircraft can now operate up to 180 minutes flying time away from the nearest airport, which could possibly lead the way for transatlantic operations for the type. The New ETOPS approval could also mean the aircraft flying from Los Angeles (LAX) to Hawaii or from South Korea's Seoul (ICN) to Australia's delightful city of Darwin (DRW).

With a range of some 3200 nautical miles (5920km) and the 180 minutes ETOPS approval could open up new routes for existing and new customers for the type, at least that is what the European plane-maker Airbus is hoping for. One idea is that it could possibly take over from the Airbus A318 that British Airways currently operate between London City Airport and New York's JFK. The A318 is set up in an all business configuration but has to have a 50-minute refuelling stop in Shannon (SNN), Ireland on the way out. The US Customs can be pre-cleared whilst in Shannon, so upon arrival in JFK, its treated exactly the same as a domestic flight. However, many passengers have said they would prefer a direct flight. The A220 already has the ability and approval to operate steep approach and departure needed at London City Airport, so maybe in the not too distant future, we could see the type crossing the Atlantic.

There could also be an opportunity for an Airbus A220 operator to open up some transatlantic routes from some of the smaller regional UK airports, which have some demand, yet not enough for a traditional widebody transatlantic aircraft. For example, Liverpool (LPL) to Toronto (YYZ), Cardiff (CWL) to Boston (BOS) or maybe Philadelphia (PHL) to East Midlands Airport (EMA)

“This A220 ETOPS milestone adds to the numerous performance capabilities which the unbeatable A220 Family already offers,” said Florent Massou, Head of Airbus’ A220 Programme. “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,” added Rob Dewar, Head of Engineering and Customer Support, A220 Programme.

With an order book of over 537 aircraft to date, the A220 is already performing well, this new ETOPS approval adds another option for the types operators to better serve the needs of their customers, so perhaps that order book might grow even more rapidly.