Airbus drops lithium-ion batteries for A350
Those anxieties went up another notch this week when the U.N. aviation agency banned the carriage of lithium-ion batteries as cargo in passenger jets.
Analysts say credibility is also at stake after severe delays on the A380 superjumbo and A400M military airlifter. Boeing's 787 also began service in 2011 almost 4 years late.
"I think there is a real interest to try not to have more creeping delays," Leeham Co analyst Scott Hamilton said.
Airbus will still use lithium-ion batteries for a maiden flight in mid-year and early flight trials but switch to traditional batteries in time for certification and delivery.
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Uncertainty over whether Airbus can be sure of certifying the A350 with the new batteries illustrates the scale of the task Boeing faces in persuading regulators to let the 787 fly.
People familiar with the matter say it is ready to implement a fix involving a tough fireproof casing for the battery, but there have been no public signs that regulators would accept this without a deeper understanding of what caused the fire.
Shares in Airbus parent EADS ended flat, while shares in French battery maker Saft fell over 1.4 percent.
Saft developed the lithium-ion battery for the A350 but is also expected to supply the fallback solution as Airbus's main supplier. A spokeswoman said Saft supported Airbus's decision.
Lithium-ion batteries have been in consumer products
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