Airbus said Thursday night it is dropping lithium-ion batteries from its new A350 jet after possible defects forced the grounding of Boeing’s 787.
The plane manufacturer, a unit of European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co., said it will revert to conventional nickel-cadmium batteries for the A350, the Associated Press reported. The plane is a widebody rival to the 787 and is expected to make its first flight around the middle of the year.
Airbus says it does not expect the battery switch to delay the A350.
U.S. officials grounded the 787 last month because of problems with its lithium-ion batteries that caused one fire and forced another plane to make an emergency landing.
Airbus says the A350 uses batteries in a different setup to the 787, making it unlikely that it would face the same problems.
The Boeing incidents prompted an indefinite worldwide grounding of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner fleet, while the resulting investigations and regulatory reviews have raised questions about future safety standards for rechargeable lithium batteries installed aboard planes.
Airbus expects the plane to make its first flight this summer, and then to undergo flight tests and seek certification from European aviation authorities by early 2014. Airbus has said it expects the A350 to begin flying passengers by the middle of next year, The Wall Street Journal reported.
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