Qatar Airways sues Airbus in A350 aircraft damage dispute

FILE PHOTO: An undated image shows what appears to be peeled, cracked paint and exposed expanded copper foil (ECF) on the fuselage of a Qatar Airways A350 fuselage.
FILE PHOTO: An undated image shows what appears to be paint peeling, cracking, and exposing expanded copper foil (ECF) on the fuselage of a Qatar Airways A350 fuselage operated by Qatar’s regulator. allow. Image obtained by Reuters. / Photo collection

December 21, 2021

By Tim Hepher

PARIS (Reuters) – Qatar Airways said on Monday it had begun proceedings in a British court against plane maker Airbus in an attempt to settle a dispute over a skin defect on its A350 passenger jet. brings the two sides closer to a rare legal dispute over aviation safety.

Companies have been locked out for months in a row for damage, including blistering paint and corrosion in a secondary lightning protection layer, which Qatar Airways says has now led to the grounding of domestic regulators. 21 A350 aircraft.

Airbus insists its carbon-composite passenger jets are safe to fly despite some “degrading surfaces”, while Qatar Airways says it is too early to say whether safety has been compromised. Are not.

The dispute flared up last week when Airbus, in what experts called an unprecedented move, accused the Gulf airline of misrepresenting the matter as a safety issue and threatened to appeal. Call for an independent legal review.

On Monday, Qatar Airways protested, saying it had brought the lawsuit against Airbus to the High Court in London.

“Sadly we have failed in all efforts to reach a constructive resolution with Airbus regarding the rapidly accelerating surface degradation that adversely affects the Airbus A350,” it said. in a statement. “Qatar Airways therefore has no choice but to seek a speedy resolution to this dispute through the courts.”

In a statement late Monday, Airbus confirmed that it had received a formal legal request. “Airbus intends to vigorously defend its position,” it said.

A spokesman earlier reiterated that they had found the cause of the problem and were working with customers and Europe’s safety regulator, which said they had not identified a safety issue.

Qatar Airways denied that the flaws in the surface – which witnesses say have left some jets with pitting – are properly understood and on Monday said it wanted Airbus to conduct a “thorough investigation”. dual”.


Several industry executives say such a public legal battle between two of the aviation industry’s top companies is unprecedented.

Aviation was expanded this month as documents viewed by Reuters revealed at least five other airlines in other climates Each other has complained about paint or other surface problems since 2016. Airbus until recently maintained, the issue focused on the paintwork on Qatar’s A350s, based in the Gulf.

Reuters also first reported that Airbus is considering changing the lightning protection system.

The plane’s maker said it was proposing temporary solutions ranging from repairs to repainting and accused Qatar Airways of ignoring those proposals without good reason.

Qatar Airways reiterated on Monday that it could not be certain whether the proposed fixes would work without further analysis. Its CEO questioned 30 why Airbus is still looking for a solution if a reliable fix is ​​available.

The 21 grounding jets represent 40% of the airline’s current A350 fleet, for which it is the largest-order launch customer. Other airlines that still operate the jet, say its ability to fly is not affected by what they see as an aesthetic issue.

Meanwhile, it looks like it will cost Airbus a large order from Qatar for a new version of the A350 freighter. It received its first corporate order for the model on Monday, confirming a previously expected order for four planes from France’s CMA CGM.

Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker told the South China Morning Post last week -2021-12 -15 he had previously considered placing a large order for the cargo A350. Sources now expect Boeing to win an order to replace 34-35 Qatari freighters.

(Reporting by Tim Hepher; Editing by Mark Potter and Gerry Doyle) Qatar Airways sues Airbus in A350 aircraft damage dispute

Bobby Allyn

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