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HomeQatar TimesAirbus pulls brakes on Qatar Airways deal for fourth A350: reports

Airbus pulls brakes on Qatar Airways deal for fourth A350: reports


The Qatari flag carrier had discovered in late 2020 and early 2021 that the surface paint over the lighting protection on 21 airplanes was eroding.

Airbus has reportedly revoked a contract with Qatar Airways for a fourth A350 jet amid an ongoing dispute between the two aviation giants, three sources privy to the matter told Reuters on Tuesday.

According to the news agency, the contract to purchase that jet was cancelled in late June, with deals for a fifth and sixth plane expected to be revoked by the end of this month and later this year, respectively.

Qatar Airways has yet to comment on the matter. However, The latest development comes as part of an ongoing dispute between the French planemaker and the Qatari flag carrier that has shaken the aviation industry.

The feud is centered on the surface degradation of various Airbus A350 jets.

​​The Qatari flag carrier had discovered in late 2020 and early 2021 that the surface paint over the lighting protection on 21 airplanes was eroding.

The Qatar Civil Aviation Authority (QCAA) made a decision to ground those planes last year.

On the other hand, Airbus maintained that the issue does not pose a risk to passengers, though images and videos shared by Reuters showed clear damage to the surface of the jets.

Citing a lack of response over the defect, the Qatari flag carrier turned to the High Court in London last December. Qatar Airways demanded $618 million in contractual compensation from Airbus.

In turn, Airbus terminated a separate contract with Qatar Airways for 50 smaller A321neo jets in January, claiming that the airline “sought to engineer or has acquiesced”.

The dispute has been described as “rare” in the aviation industry.

Then in April, Qatar Airways asked a UK judge to further extend the temporary decision to ‘freeze’ the European manufacturer’s cancellation decision. However, Airbus won the case after a British judge rejected the Qatari company’s request.

With the grounded jets representing 40% of Qatar Airways’ A350 fleets, the airline went on to ink a major $34 billion deal with Airbus’ competitor Boeing in late January. 

Qatar Airways and the American plane manufacturer signed an agreement stipulating the purchase of 50 of its 777x jets, becoming the launch customer of the new planes.

Last month, Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury told Reuters that his company was in discussions with Qatar Airways to settle the legal battle. 

“We are in a difficult place, but we in Airbus are really willing to find a way out,” said Faury.

Meanwhile, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker told reporters in May that he hoped that the dispute can be “resolved outside the courts of law”.

An upcoming hearing is scheduled to take place in a London court on Thursday.



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