Airbus jetliner gets go-ahead to fly further on one engine

French plane maker's A350 long-haul aircraft now able to fly more direct routes over oceans in event of engine failure.

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US regulators have agreed to let the Airbus A350 fly further on one engine in the event of a breakdown, freeing the new European jet to fly more direct routes over oceans and other deserted places, its manufacturer said on Monday.

The decision by the federal aviation administration will allow the twin-engined A350 to fly up to five hours from the nearest airport on one engine, which is equivalent to about 2,000 nautical miles or 3,700km.

Later this year, the jet will be granted up to 370 minutes or more than six hours, allowing it to fly almost any route and bringing it into line with European rules, Airbus said.

Airbus also said it and Safran had signed an agreement for the second phase of a merger of their space launcher activities.

The long-awaited agreement will close in the second quarter, the French aerospace groups said in a joint statement.

The second phase calls for the integration of industrial assets and military launchers, turning their existing Airbus Safran Launchers venture into a “fully fledged operational company”, the two partners said.

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