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Qatar Airways’ Airbus A350 Dispute Escalates With Airbus Canceling a Separate Order for 50 A321neos

On January 20, 2022, through legal proceedings against Airbus in the Technology & Construction division of the High Court in England, Qatar Airways sought an expedited hearing related to the grounding of 21 A350s due to fuselage surface degradation.

Qatar Airways Airbus A350-900 - Courtesy Airbus

On Friday (January 21, 2022), Qatar Airways issued a statement regarding their legal proceedings against Airbus in the Technology & Construction Division of the High Court in England. On Thursday, January 20th, the carrier sought an expedited hearing to address their safety concerns regarding the alleged fuselage surface degradation on certain Airbus A350s, which has resulted in the grounding of 21 aircraft. According to Qatar Airways, the defects are not superficial, with one of the defects causing the aircraft’s lightning protection system to be exposed and damaged. The carrier further claims that a second defect leaves the underlying composite fuselage structure exposed to moisture and UV light, while other defects include cracking in the composite and damage around a high percentage of rivets on the aircraft fuselage. As a result, the carrier has petitioned the court to expedite this issue and order a hearing by April 2022.

Today’s statement from Qatar Airways reads in part,

“…We continue to strongly believe that Airbus must undertake a thorough investigation of this condition to conclusively establish its full root cause in order to establish whether any proposed repair solution will rectify the underlying condition and ensure no risk to the continued airworthiness of the aircraft. Qatar Airways’ number one priority remains the safety of its passengers and crew. For this reason, all affected aircraft remain grounded, and we are unable to accept delivery of further aircraft tendered for delivery by Airbus...”

Video Documenting the Airline's Airbus A350 Surface Degradation - Courtesy Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways further states that Airbus has responded by seeking to cancel a separate contract for the delivery of 50 Airbus A321neos, despite the carrier’s claim that they are adhering to their obligations across all applicable contracts.

Source: Qatar Airways


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