Published February 15, 2013
Airbus has decided to drop all use of lithium ion batteries in its new A350 XWB as rival Boeing (BA) continues to undergo a massive investigation into the same batteries that ultimately triggered an emergency landing of the 787 last month in Tokyo.
The French company said it remains confident in the battery’s safety, which it has been developing with battery-maker Saft for use in its soon-to-be launched passenger jumbo jet, and added that the A350 flight test program with the lithium-ion batteries will continue as planned.
However, Airbus said it has now decided to revert back to the proven nickel cadmium main batteries for the A350 as it enters the market, which is currently scheduled for the second half of 2014.
“Airbus considers this to be the most appropriate way forward in the interest of program execution and A350 XWB reliability,” the company said in a statement.
The European airplane manufacturer said it has launched additional studies on the batteries’ behavior in the air and will continue to keep an eye on the ongoing Boeing investigation.
Safety officials continue to investigate the auxiliary batteries used in Boeing’s grounded 787 Dreamliner after a string of setbacks in January that included battery meltdowns that prompted the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to issue an airworthiness directive.
The FAA last week granted Boeing the ability to begin test flights as part of the review. The jet maker has so far undergone two, which have been completed without incident.