Qatar Airways Denies Airbus’ US$220m Contract Breach Claim

Qatar Airways Denies Airbus’ US$220m Contract Breach Claim

DALLAS – According to court documents obtained by Bloomberg, Qatar Airways (QR) has denied charges that it owes Airbus US$220m in damages. When it declined to accept delivery of two A350 planes, the airline argued it had not broken its contract with the planemaker.

The news comes as QR puts more A380 superjumbos in the air to accommodate increased demand. The Qatari carrier has reactivated eight A380s, one of which is already deployed to fly between Sydney and Doha starting June 1. 

Qatar Airways A321neo. Render: Airbus

Ongoing Row

Qatar Airways and the European manufacturer are currently at odds over paint flaws on the surface of A350s delivered to the airline.

The Qatar Civil Aviation Authority (QCAA) grounded 13 QR A350 aircraft in August 2021 due to premature fuselage surface deterioration. In December 2021, QR filed a lawsuit against Airbus for the grounding, demanding more than US$600m in damages.

In retaliation, Airbus attempted to cancel a second deal with QR for the delivery of 50 A321neo planes. The British court, however, stayed this ruling until the judge’s decision in April 2022.

Qatar Airways A7-ALC AIRBUS A350-900. Photo: Ian Marshall/Airways

A Widespread Paint Problem?

In a court statement, QR alleged that other A350 operators, including Finnair (AY), Cathay Pacific (CX), Etihad (EY), and Air France (AF), had reported the problem.

According to a private maintenance messaging board used by Airbus and A350 operators, AY had expressed worries about paint as early as 2016, and in October 2019, the damage had extended below the anti-lightning mesh.

Featured image: Qatar Airways A7-ALY Airbus A350-900. Photo: Otto Kirchof/Airways

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