Airbus is confident that it will not have to change the electrical architecture of the A350, in light of concerns over the use of lithium-ion batteries.

The A350, like the Boeing 787, will use lithium-ion batteries for systems including the auxiliary power unit, but Airbus says its aircraft is broadly not as dependent on electrical power as the US twinjet.

French firm Saft will provide the A350's batteries.

Airbus chief executive Fabrice Brégier, speaking during a results briefing in Toulouse, said the airframer was "confident" that the A350's electrical design was "robust", and there was no reason for it to be similar to the 787's.

The A350 will be more "traditional", Airbus says, with a "lower risk" approach to its electrical sourcing, drawing less power from individual batteries.

Brégier says the A350 remains in a development phase and there are still opportunities to change "many things" in the design.

But he stresses: "However, regarding the A350's electrical architecture, we don't see any reason - until we get additional information - to change our design."

Concerns over the lithium-ion battery technology have resulted in grounding of the 787, in the wake of a number of electrical incidents.

While the investigations into the incidents are still continuing, Brégier says that Airbus held discussions with certification agencies over its plans to use lithium-ion batteries.

"They seemed happy with the selected architecture of the aircraft," he says.

But he adds that, "where there is doubt, it's best to look at it very carefully" and will study any advisories which emerge from the 787 investigation.

Brégier diplomatically points out: "In this industry both Boeing and Airbus give the same priority to safety. The track record of safety was excellent for both companies in 2012."

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news