DALLAS — French aerospace giant Airbus has started the process of changing the core design of its A350 series due to a flaw in the exterior coating. The change comes despite Airbus being in a legal battle with Qatar Airways (QR).
The dispute follows a claim from Qatar Airways (QR) that the paint is prone to cracking and chipping, which in turn exposes the metallic lightning protection of the aircraft.
This also increases the risk of corrosion on the aircraft. The multi-billion dollar dispute has recently been set for a split trial in 2023.
The current material, known as ECF (expanded copper foil), has been implemented on the A350 as the outer skin of the aircraft.
Airbus has recently announced studies on a new material dubbed PCF (perforated copper foil), which has a lighter weight compared to the current material. The new PCF will also aid in solving the cracking issue cited by Qatar Airways (QR).
In a statement from Qatar Airways (QR), dated May 3, 2022:
The judgment handed down by the justice, Mr. Justice Waksman in a hearing in the High Court on Thursday (26 May) has exposed for all in the aviation sector to see, the fiction of the Airbus narrative that the condition affecting the Airbus A350s is a simple “cosmetic” paint issue.Qatar Airways
The Airbus A350
The Airbus A350 is a wide-body aircraft capable of holding up to 480 passengers in an all-economy configuration. The aircraft has also been cited by Airbus to be lighter than similar competitor aircraft.
The Airbus A350 family has also been cited to have a 25% lower fuel burn than its competitors due to a combination of a cutting-edge wing design as well as being powered by two Trent XWB engines.
Since its first delivery in 2014, Airbus has delivered over 500 aircraft. Major carriers such as Singapore Airlines (SQ), Qatar Airways (QF), and Delta Air Lines (DL) all operate the Airbus A350 family.
The latest major order, placed in mid-2022 by Qantas, has gathered international attention due to Qantas’s new and innovative Project Sunrise.
Featured Image: Aidan Pullino/Airways
in 2018, CHRIS SLOAN climbed on board Singapore Airlines (SQ) Airbus A350 service from Newark to Singapore in what was then the return of the world’s longest flight. Check out the December 2018 issue for the full report.