MIAMI – A paint job on an A350 seems to be the unclear source of a dispute, with undefined claims by both sides, between Airbus and Qatar Airways (QR).

But is it an inferior painting job, a type of job Airbus has certainly mastered, or just a “tactical claim” from QR meant to slow down aircraft delivery the carrier does not exactly need during the ongoing crisis? Only time will tell where the truth stands, as right now, anything said will only be pure conjecture on the matter.

Airbus A350-1000 F-WWIL – Photo : Alberto Cucini/Airways

Test Prototype n°4 Paint Job

However, an anecdotical flashback on the same subject comes from the paint job of the A350 test prototype n°4. The aircraft, which started flying in 2013, was painted in two halves: the forward part in QR’s colors and the aft and tail in Airbus’ colors. QR was the launch customer of the type.

According to a French newspaper La Depeche report dated October 17, 2013, the decision to paint the A350 with the two brands was not exactly welcomed by engineers, technicians, and workers in general, denouncing the move as just showing the “power of money.” Airbus management tempered on the matter indicating that the double paint job was not its first.

In 1982, an A310 aircraft was painted with two liveries to honor Lufthansa (LH), the launch customer of the type. As for the A350 in double livery, it was painted in 2014 and was used to promote the type.

Airbus A310-300 – Photo : Airbus Media

Featured image: Airbus A350-900 F-WZNW Farnborough Air Show 2014. Photo courtesy: Kev Colbran