28 JANUARY 2013


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Article from BTNews 28 JANUARY 2013

Battery problems

Airbus CEO Fabrice Bregier does not see an imminent effect of the Dreamliner grounding on the Airbus A350 programme, which also plans to use lithium-ion batteries.

During a 17 January press conference Bregier said: “Airbus went through discussions with the FAA and the European Aviation Safety Agency about the electric architecture of the aircraft and they seemed very happy at the time”.

Airbus will “carefully study” recommendations that come out of the 787 investigation and evaluate whether they apply to the A350, with Bregier noting that the A350 still is in the development stage, so modifications are still possible.

However, Executive VP-Programmes Tom Williams concedes that replacing the lithium-ion batteries would be a “very serious decision” and cause delays.

Airbus has selected a different supplier, Saft, the A350 also is a less electric aircraft than the 787.  Systems such as braking and functions such as de-icing are still performed in the conventional way, using hydraulics and bleed air, respectively.

Williams says that Airbus is using more cells than Boeing in functions such as auxiliary power unit start-up, where lithium-ion batteries are used but less power per unit is required. He is cautious and said that Airbus could be facing the same issues as Boeing.” www.airbus.com

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