18 FEBRUARY 2013


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Article from BTNews 18 FEBRUARY 2013

Battery problems

Airbus issued a somewhat convoluted statement last Friday (14 February) saying that it is confident that the lithium ion (Li-ion) main battery it has been developing with French company Saft for the A350 XWB aircraft is robust and safe. The flight test programme will go ahead as planned. 
It goes on to say that the root causes of the two recent industry Li-ion main batteries incidents (in the Boeing 787) remain unexplained.  “In this context, and with a view to ensuring the highest level of programme 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 XWB programme at Entry into Service (EIS). Airbus considers this to be the most appropriate way forward in the interest of programme execution and A350 XWB reliability.”
In parallel, Airbus has also launched additional maturity studies on Li-ion main batteries behaviour in aerospace operations.  With these decisions Airbus does not expect to impact the A350 introduction schedule.  The big question is “how will this change affect the economics of the aircraft?” and will Airbus go back to Li-ion if the batteries are proven safe?  In the meantime Boeing is flight testing a 787. www.airbus.com  www.boeing.co.uk

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