February 15, 2013
Airbus has decided to drop lithium-ion batteries on the A350 program. The company told its customers about the decision explaining that it wanted to protect the A350 entry into service schedule.
Airbus sources say the concerns did not necessarily center around the technology as such, but were caused mainly by the regulatory uncertainty following the two Boeing 787 incidents. Airbus was worried about late additional compliance criteria that could have been introduced by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The company plans to mature the technology further nonetheless.
Initial flight tests will be performed with lithium-ion batteries, because it is already too late now to implement the change for the early part of the flight test program. However, the A350 will later be certified with Nickel-Cadmium batteries.
Industry sources tell Aviation Week that Airbus had considered lithium-ion batteries for the A320NEO, too, but later dropped the idea again.