I am flying this week to France in an Airbus A330-200. I have a phobia of flying I have several questions here on the aviation forum. The plane is A330-200 is the one we're going with and I am reading about it. It works under the term ETOPS.

I read this part and now I am scared more than ever and I didn't understand it correctly:

In aviation vernacular, the colloquial backronym is "Engines Turn Or Passengers Swim", referring to the inevitable emergency water landing of a twin engine aircraft after a double engine failure over water outside gliding range of land. But ETOPS operation has no direct correlation to water or distance over water. It refers to flight times between diversion airports, regardless as to whether such fields are separated by water or land.

The company I am flying with, its fleet has an average age of 5.6 years in 2016, making MEA one of the youngest fleets in the world.

  • $\begingroup$ I edited the question. $\endgroup$
    – alim1990
    Mar 5, 2018 at 14:52
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Air travel is safer (statistically) than the car you are traveling in to get to the airport. So don't be afraid. $\endgroup$ Mar 5, 2018 at 14:55
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I think the wording is overly dramatic and I understand that this would be alarming to someone with a phobia. The linked answers explain ETOPS well but the paragraph you cited refers to a hypothetical situation where a twin-engine jet loses both engines. The point of ETOPS is to certify that any aircraft flying far away from land never experiences such a failure. As far as I know, none ever have. $\endgroup$
    – Hugh
    Mar 6, 2018 at 4:40
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Hugh, I know one and one that came close (over water, there were more over land). And notably, having more engines would not have helped, because it was common cause. Still there was maybe 50 all-engine failures through all history (on airliners). Way less risk than car accident on the way to airport indeed. $\endgroup$
    – Jan Hudec
    Mar 6, 2018 at 18:53
  • $\begingroup$ And what about the gear is not down while landing ? Like the polish airplane $\endgroup$
    – alim1990
    Mar 7, 2018 at 8:53

1 Answer 1


ETOPS (Extended Twin Operations - at least that’s what it used to be called) is a set of rules comprising of flight planning, flight operations, aircraft maintenance, flight training and administrative procedures which are geared towards making aircraft operations safe in those regions where diversion airfields are not easily found, e.g. when crossing large oceans.

When these rules are obeyed (i.e. when operating under ETOPS), that should make flying very safe.


Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .