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The back-up plan is in case regulators find issues with lithium batteries after the 787 troubles

In the wake of Boeing's 787 Dreamliner issues, Airbus said it's prepared to redesign or utilize alternatives to its A350 lithium-ion jet batteries.

Airbus expects to use lithium-ion batteries much like those used in the 787 Dreamliner, but with recent battery fires occurring in the 787 jets, Airbus is ready to make any necessary changes that authorities may require.

Airbus has addressed that fires could be a potential threat when using lithium-ion batteries, but feels safe with its designs enough to continue with efforts to use them.

"We identified this fragility at the start of development and we think we resolved it about a year ago," said Fabrice Bregier, Airbus CEO. "Nothing prevents us from going back to a classical plan that we have been studying in parallel.


"We have a robust design. If this design has to evolve, we have the time to do that. If it has to change in a more drastic way because the authorities reach the conclusion that the technology is not mature, then we have all the time we need to do this on the A350 before first delivery in the second half of 2014."

The 787's lack of fire-fighting system has been the subject of inspection over the last week, but Airbus declined to offer any details regarding the A350's fire-fighting system or on the battery's design overall.

Throughout January 2013, 787 Dreamliner jets through Japanese airlines All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Japan Airlines (JAL) had various issues concerning the lithium-ion batteries. The 787s were grounded in the U.S., Japan and India while an investigation began.

Source: Reuters



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RE: What I find most amusing...
By DT_Reader on 2/1/2013 3:33:44 PM , Rating: 3
Not true. The FAA didn't certify the battery in advance, leaving Boeing little choice but to use that battery, they certified that battery because that's what Boeing chose to submit for certification. Boeing chose the most volatile form of Li-ion battery to save weight and space. The weight is a small issue; the unfortunate reality is that they didn't leave room for a larger substitute, so now they're really hosed. Airbus, by being two years later to market, has two more years to make room if they need to change the battery type.


RE: What I find most amusing...
By Amiga500 on 2/1/2013 5:51:42 PM , Rating: 2
A380 already has lithium ion batteries. However they are used very, very differently to 787 (and envisaged use on A350).

I think you can expect the 787 grounding to go on for quite a few months yet... maybe beyond mid-year before they are flying again. Right now, they cannot even find the problem, which is most troubling.

An interim solution, which gets the planes airborne again and provide more information, may be using a heavily instrumented battery pack, temporarily cancel ETOPS certification and only allow flight paths that are constantly within 1/2 hour of a suitable divert airport. Of course, not ideal... but there aren't many alternatives.


RE: What I find most amusing...
By Amiga500 on 2/1/2013 5:53:44 PM , Rating: 2
Just a note; the FAA didn't certify the battery as such, they gave it special dispensation.

[Special dispensation isn't as special as it sounds though, its commonly used for various things, like flying over 40,000 ft or meeting fuel tank flammability requirements.]


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