Feb 15th, 2013
Airbus will drop lithium-ion batteries and switch to nickel-cadmium batteries for its new A350 passenger jet following battery problems on Boeing's 787 Dreamliner, the European plane maker said on Friday.
Airbus said it had taken the decision to prevent further delays in initial deliveries of the A350 amid uncertainty over whether investigations into Boeing's battery problems would lead to changes in regulations.
"We want to mature the lithium-ion technology but we are making this decision today to protect the A350's entry into service schedule," a spokeswoman said.
Industry executives, insurers and safety officials had told reporters the technology's predictability was being questioned at senior levels as investigators struggle to find the cause of incidents that led to the grounding of Boeing's 787 Dreamliner.
These included a fire on board a parked 787 in the US and an in-flight problem on another plane in Japan.
The A350 is due to enter service in the second half of 2014.
Airbus will use lithium-ion batteries for initial test flights due to start in the summer of 2013 but make the switch to the heavier battery before the plane enters service.
French company Saft makes the lithium-ion battery that has been ditched for the A350 and supplies traditional nickel-cadmium ones to the rest of the Airbus product range.
A Saft spokeswoman said on Friday that Airbus was expected to use Saft nickel-cadmium batteries to replace the lithium-ion batteries it has been developing.