Airbus dropping lithiumion batteries from the A350 in the interest of timeliness

Amidst the ongoing brouhaha over rival Boeing's Dreamliner-grounding battery troubles, Airbus has decided not to use lithium-ion batteries in its newest aircraft, the A350, according to industry officials cited by the Wall Street Journal. The European plane maker is said to be making the change in an effort to stick to its plan of pressing the jet into commercial service by the middle of next year. While the craft's early test flights this summer will still make use of four lithium-ion batteries for on-ground electrical power and as backup in the air as originally intended, it will be delivered to airlines with conventional nickel-cadmium batteries instead. Safety considerations are undoubtedly part of the picture, but since the A350 is already behind schedule by a couple of years, its manufacturer can't afford any further delays -- anticipated in case regulators find fault with the use of lithium-ion packs in flights. As Boeing struggles to find a fix and get the 787 back into the air, it seems Airbus has taken the easy way out.

[Image credit: Airbus S.A.S / H. Goussé]