Airbus cancels Qatar Airways order

Status: 01/21/2022 2:46 p.m

The dispute between Airbus and Qatar Airways over damage to the paintwork on the A350 model is becoming more relentless: in response to a high claim for damages from the airline, the aircraft manufacturer is canceling an order.

The dispute between the European aircraft manufacturer Airbus and Qatar Airways over damage to the paintwork on Airbus A350 aircraft is entering the next round. The planemaker canceled a separate order from the airline for 50 A321neo aircraft. With the refusal to deliver, Airbus is also defending itself out of court against one of its most important customers.

The Qatari airline had filed a complaint with the High Court in London for damage to the paintwork on Airbus A350 aircraft and is demanding compensation of 618 million dollars. Qatar Airways had taken some of its more than 50 A350 series machines out of service because of the reported problems with the surface coating. The acceptance of ordered jets was already suspended in June.

security risk or not?

The Qatar aviation authority regards the damage as a safety risk and had instructed the airline to ground 21 of its 53 aircraft of this type. Airbus had admitted signs of wear and tear, but denied security risks. Airbus program manager Philippe Mhun emphasized that the problems were not security-related. There is “no reasonable basis” for the landing ban, according to Airbus documents published on Thursday in preparation for a hearing before the court.

Airbus accused the customer of only pretending to be concerned about safety. Rather, the state airline Qatar Airways initiated or tolerated the landing ban because, given the demand affected by the pandemic, it was in its economic interest to keep the aircraft on the ground, Airbus claimed.

Six billion dollars order value

At the end of April, further negotiations on the claim for damages are to be held in London. The required sum could increase with the cancellation of the A321neo by Airbus. The airline had placed the order for these machines ten years ago. The airline wanted to offer new routes on which it cannot yet fill large jets, but which are too far for the smaller A320. The first delivery was scheduled for February 2023.

According to experts, Airbus could quickly find other buyers for the A321neo, which is in high demand, while the corona pandemic caused interest in the A350 long-haul jet to fall further. The 50 A321neo aircraft have an order value of more than six billion dollars.

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