After the recent fiasco with the new Boeing 787 Dreamliners and their melting lithium-ion batteries, it seems that Airbus won’t be taking any chances and will be dropping lithium-ion batteries when building their new A350 aircraft. The airplane manufacturer is afraid that regulatory uncertainties will delay production of its new plane.
However, Airbus says that the reason for not using these unpredictable lithium-ion batteries has nothing to do with safety concerns, but rather scheduling and the possible delay of the A350 aircrafts, which are expected to ship to airlines sometime during the summer next year. Airbus says that they don’t want the ongoing battery investigation to interfere with their production schedule.
Airbus will switch back to traditional nickel-cadmium batteries in the A350, mostly because the technology has been proven solid over the years, and they believe in the safety of the tried-and-true batteries. Of course, Boeing’s bold step toward lithium-ion technology was unprecedented and an ultimate game-changer, but it was a risk that ended up turning sour for the airplane manufacturer.
Airbus expects its new A350 to make its first test flight sometime this summer, and it will then undergo further test flights over the year. The manufacturer plans to seek certification from European aviation authorities by early 2014, with an expected launch date of summer 2014, where the new plane will finally be ferrying passengers around the world.