Airbus to go for standard battery in A350

Airbus SAS said it would revert to traditional battery technology for its new A350 wide-body aircraft instead of the lithium-ion power source that led to the grounding of Boeing Co's competing 787 Dreamliner following malfunctions.

The change would be effected for protection of the  programme schedule and avoiding certification delays, the company said in a statement today.

The timeline, the first flight targeted for mid-year and planned entry into service by late 2014, would not change. According to Airbus, it would continue tests on the new batteries, even as it called the cadmium type ''proven and mastered.''

While according to Airbus its battery architecture on the A350 differed from that of the Dreamliner, it did not want to risk moving ahead with a new technology even as safety experts continued to struggle identifying the origins of the malfunctions on the Boeing 787.

With standard batteries twice the size of the lithium-ion ones, Airbus would redesign the area where they were housed and change some interfaces, a task made easier due to the fact that the A350 was not yet in serial production.

''The root causes of the two recent industry Li-ion main batteries incidents remain unexplained to the best of our knowledge,'' Airbus said in a statement. ''In this context, and with a view to ensuring the highest level of program certainty, Airbus has decided to activate its 'Plan B.'''