In the face of ongoing uncertainty about the fitness of lithium-ion batteries for use in commercial aircraft, Airbus has announced it has decided it will install traditional nickel cadmium batteries in the A350.
Calling it its “Plan B”, Airbus said the unresolved issues surrounding the 787 lithium-ion battery incidents have caused the manufacturer to take a more conservative approach.
“In this context, and with a view to ensuring the highest level of program certainty, Airbus has decided to activate its “Plan B” and therefore to revert back to the proven and mastered nickel cadmium main batteries for its A350 program at entry into service,” the company said. “Airbus considers this to be the most appropriate way forward in the interest of program execution and A350 reliability.
“As a result of making this decision now, Airbus does not expect it to impact the A350 entry into service schedule.” The decision is expected to give added confidence to existing and potential customers of the aircraft.
The company said it will meanwhile continue studies of new battery technology.
“In parallel, Airbus has also launched additional maturity studies on Li-ion main batteries behavior in aerospace operations and will naturally take on board the findings of the ongoing official investigation.”