News And Notes On Wednesday, March 7th

I’ve written about the Boeing 787 problems a number of times.  There have been a bunch of rumors that a solution is imminent.  One of the things that’s been rumored is that the 787 ETOPS certificate would be clipped in whole or in part.  ETOPS is short for “Extended Twin Engine Operations”, planes apply for and receive certification to fly long distances from an airport (ETOPS is also humorously referred to as Engine Turns or Passengers Swim).  The 787 achieved the ability to fly 5 hours from the nearest airport.

While that’s necessary for some routes, Wandering Aramean has gone through a whole ton of routes the 787 is scheduled to fly and found that ETOPS doesn’t really have a huge impact.  This type of data might not appeal to everyone, but I thought it was really interesting that most routes wouldn’t be affected.  A big thanks to Wandering Aramean for putting together all the data.

The TSA is allowing you to bring more things on planes.  Whereas a bat or pool cue had to be in your checked luggage, certain sizes will now be allowed onboard.  They’re also allowing very small knives, which is a bit of surprise to me based on how strongly against knives the TSA has been for so long.  There are rumors that the liquid ban will be relaxed at some point in the near future (possibly 2013).  That’s the one I’m really waiting for.

Travel blogger Travel Playbook is giving away 10,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points on his blog.  It’s easy to enter, so if you’re in the market for some free Hyatt GP points….

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  1. I think that saying most routes won’t be affected is stretching the truth just a wee bit. 😉

    It is true that many routes can still operate world-wide with the limitation. But many others cannot. And the impact of operating these routes with the 60 minute “leash” is deeper than just flights will take a bit longer. Lots of the flights can be made to work but they will take longer and cost more to operate. And all of this is assuming that the airlines are comfortable sending these planes (and passengers) on routes where the diversion point may be a day away from recovery should the diversion actually happen.

    Yes, the airlines are going to have to find a way to get the planes back in the air and get the cycles/hours in to meet the FAA’s requirements. And Boeing should ultimately eat the costs for the inefficiencies. But it isn’t as simple as just looking at the map and saying, “they mostly work.”

    Also, ETOPS is Extended Twin-engine Operations. It only applies to two-engine planes, not the A380, A340 and 747s.

    1. Seth, maybe it would be more correct to say “most routes can still be maintained with some adjustments”. The first impression I had when I thought about no ETOPS for the 787 was, “Oh, f***. That kills a lot of routes”. My general impression after reviewing the information is that largely these routes will still be able to operate without significant costs. I agree there will be more cost to operate, but in at least some of these situations, some airlines don’t have similar-sized crafts that can fill in these spots quickly.

      I agree there will be costs, but I think it looks like the costs to operate a 787 on these routes may be more costly but ultimately less than older, less efficient planes.

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