Airbus has decided to drop lithium-ion batteries on the A350 program. The company told its customers about the decision, explaining that it wanted to protect the A350 entry-into-service schedule.

Airbus sources say its concerns did not necessarily center on the technology, but arose mainly from the regulatory uncertainty following the two Boeing 787 incidents. Airbus is worried about late additional compliance criteria that could be introduced by the European Aviation Safety Agency. The company plans to mature the technology further nonetheless.

Initial flight tests will be performed with lithium-ion batteries because it is already too late to implement the change for the early part of the flight test program. However, the A350 later will be certified with nickel-cadmium batteries.

Industry sources tell Aviation Week that Airbus had considered lithium-ion batteries for the A320NEO as well, but later dropped the idea.