Airbus switches battery after Boeing's troubles

It has already cost Airbus some £10bn to develop the A350

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The Independent Online

Airbus has changed its mind about using lithium batteries in its new A350 plane, after its rival Boeing was forced to ground its 787 Dreamliner over problems with the technology.

The European plane-maker Airbus will use conventional batteries for the A350, its wide-body long-range plane set to rival Boeing's 787, to limit delays and costs. Airbus is thought to have spent some £10bn so far to develop the A350.

A spokesman said: "The causes of the [Dreamliner's] batteries incidents remain unexplained … [so] Airbus has decided to activate its Plan B and revert back to the proven and mastered nickel cadmium main batteries for its A350."

The Dreamliner has been grounded for a month as officials investigate problems with its lithium-ion batteries that caused one to catch fire and forced another plane to make an emergency landing.

The A350 is set to make its first flight in the middle of this year, and will then face a year of flight trials and safety checks. The plane is due to be delivered to customers – including Aer Lingus, Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific – in the second half of next year.