New long haul aircraft: main batteries ongoing discussions

The use of new main lithium-ion batteries due to their higher power to size and weight ratio compared to traditional nickel-cadmium; have created great controversy in the industry.

After, the two Boeing 787 APU battery incidents, the B787 fleet could be back in service next month if the FAA approves the package of battery modifications.

Boeing has officially completed the final certification test for the modified 787 lithium-ion system during a demonstration flight for the FAA on April 5 using Line No. 86, a production aircraft destined for LOT Polish Airlines that has been used for the bulk of recent flight testing.

In this scenario, Airbus has decided revert back to the proven and mastered nickel-cadmium main batteries for its A350 XWB program at entry into service (EIS), as already used in the A380 and other models.

This way, Lithium-ion batteries will continue being used in small batteries, running minor systems such as a small set of lights. “Airbus considers this to be the most appropriate way forward in the interest of program execution”, so no further delays to the launch of the A350 are expected.”

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