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Airbus to drop lithium-ion batteries in A350

A Boeing 787 Dreamliner is seen landing at Los Angeles International Airport in this undated file photo.
February 15, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
European plane maker, Airbus, is eliminating lithium-ion batteries from its new A350 jetliner due to the uncertainty surrounding the technology.

Lithium batteries are lighter and can store more energy than other types of batteries of an equivalent size, and manufacturers view them as an important way to save on fuel costs. But the batteries are also more likely to short circuit and start a fire than other batteries if they are damaged, if there is a manufacturing flaw or if they are exposed to excessive heat.

Federal officials grounded Boeing's 787 Dreamliner fleet last month because of problems with its lithium-ion batteries that caused one fire and forced another plane to make an emergency landing.

Airbus said they plan to revert to conventional nickel-cadmium batteries.

"Airbus considers this to be the most appropriate way forward in the interest of program execution and A350 XWB reliability," spokeswoman Mary Anne Greczyn said.

The aerospace group said its A350 is a long-range rival to the 787 and is expected to make its first flight around the middle of the year. No delay in the A350's schedule is expected.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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