Airbus will not use lithium batteries in A350: source

Airbus will not use lithium batteries in the A350 long-range liner under development, a company source told AFP on Friday, as investigations continue into battery fires that have grounded rival Boeing's 787 carriers.

"The first planes will be delivered with cadmium, not lithium batteries," the source said, adding that the airliner's first test flights will nevertheless take place with the lithium batteries.

The announcement comes as Boeing's 50 Dreamliners in service around the world have been grounded since January, after battery smoke forced an emergency landing of one plane and a battery fire was reported on a parked plane.

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US air safety investigators have since zeroed in on how a battery fire occurred on the parked plane -- a Japanese Airlines 787 at Boston's Logan airport -- saying that evidence pointed to a single cell on the eight-cell lithium-ion battery, which short circuited, leading to a rise in temperature.

Investigators do not yet know what specifically caused the short circuit.

The Airbus A350 is due to enter service in the second half of 2014, with the company hoping the liner will make it competitive in the long-haul market, where its planes have found it hard to challenge Boeing's 747s and 777s.

by Martin Parry © 2013 AFP

Source: AFP
Date: Feb 15, 2013