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Boeing stands by lithium-ion batteries

A member of an investigation team examines pieces of damaged battery cell, Washington, DC, January 24, 2013
A member of an NTSB investigation team examines pieces of damaged electrode coils from a battery cell that resulted in a fire aboard a Japan Airlines (JAL) Boeing 787 Dreamliner airplane, Washington, DC, January 24, 2013. US aerospace giant Boeing said Fr

US aerospace giant Boeing said Friday it will continue to use lithium-ion batteries, despite rival Airbus saying it would avoid them following two incidents on the Boeing 787.

"Boeing is confident in the safety and reliability of lithium-ion batteries," said Boeing spokesman Marc Birtel.

"Our years of experience and deep expertise confirm that, like other technologies, when the appropriate battery, system and airplane protections are in place, lithium-ion batteries deliver significant benefits," Birtel said.

Boeing's 787 Dreamliners were grounded indefinitely worldwide in January worldwide after battery smoke forced an emergency landing of one plane and a battery fire was reported on a parked plane.

US air safety investigators have yet to determine what caused a short circuit in a single cell on the eight-cell lithium-ion battery in a Japan Airlines 787 at Boston's Logan airport on January 7, apparently leading to the fire.

Boeing competitor Airbus plans to avoid using lithium-ion batteries in the A350 long-range liner under development, a company source told AFP on Friday.

"The first planes will be delivered with cadmium, not lithium batteries," the source said, adding that the airliner's first test flights will nevertheless take place with lithium-ion batteries.