ETOPS was originally the acronym in English for Extended-range Twin-engine Operation Performance Standards (the rules governing the operational performance of twin-engine aircraft on long flights), but over time the term has evolved and come to mean Extended Twins OperationS (extended operation of twin-engine aircraft).
In essence ETOPS refers to a series of certifications approved by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) that enables commercial aircraft that are propelled by two engines to cover long-haul routes, taking into account a specific flight time with respect to the nearest airport. The time that is set for the ETOPS certification of a flight corresponds to the time required to get to the nearest appropriate airport with a single engine running.
At present these rules also affect aircraft with three and four engines.
Not only must the aircraft be ETOPS certified, but also the crew must have undertaken training and obtained specific qualifications to be able to perform flights of this type.
The time that was established initially was just a few minutes, but later the periods were lengthened, expanding the margins of safety, moving first to 90 minutes, then to 120 minutes and later to 180 minutes. Nowadays, certain aircraft are permitted to fly up to 240 minutes, leaving the doorway open to cover any route with a twin-engine aircraft with complete safety.
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Source: Own work.
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