DALLAS – As the battle between Airbus and Qatar Airways (QR) continues, the European plane maker has taken another swipe against the airline by canceling an agreement for a fourth Airbus A350.
The delivery of a fifth airframe is expected to be canceled by the end of July, and a sixth example will follow suit later this year.
Despite being the type’s biggest customer, Qatar has been unhappy over what it claims are ‘unresolved airworthiness issues’ relating to surface paint scars on the jets. The airline states that the damage poses a safety risk. Airbus, meanwhile, claims that the paint issues are merely cosmetic.
Both parties are locked in a bitter dispute, and while the situation remains unresolved, the Gulf carrier refuses to take any further deliveries.
Airbus reacted by canceling the airline’s entire US$6 billion order for 50 Airbus A321neos in January. As A350 deliveries are due, they have trimmed the order on a per-aircraft basis. This allows the manufacturer to be free to sell these airframes to other operators.
The row has even made it to the courts. In May, a British judge rejected QR’s bid to pause its delivery schedule and subsequent payments. This means that Airbus, which claims that the airline has broken its contract, can continue to request payments from QR for jets that it no longer needs to deliver to the airline.
A further procedural hearing between the two parties is due in London on Thursday. A full trial is expected to begin in June 2023. However, Airbus has stated that it would prefer to settle the dispute out of court.
Featured Image: QR was the launch customer for both the -900 and -1000 series of the A350. Photo: Qatar Airways.