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A350 dispute: Airbus and Qatar Airways talk again

The fronts in the Airbus A350 surface coating dispute had recently hardened. But the aircraft manufacturer speaks of a rapprochement with Qatar Airways.

In fact, it is not worth reporting when the head of an aircraft manufacturer travels by plane. But in this case it is something very special. Airbus chief Guillaume Faury flew to Doha for the annual meeting of the airline’s umbrella organization IATA – with Qatar Airways.

This is special because Airbus and the Gulf airline are currently in a heated legal dispute over problems with the Airbus A350’s surface coating. Sometimes they even clash in public. But apparently the fronts are no longer as hardened as they were a few weeks ago.

“Of course I’m frustrated”

We find ourselves in these two days as if between two brackets. “The whole industry has been invited here and we are grateful,” Faury told reporters on the sidelines of the event in the Qatari capital Doha. “We are in discussion,” continued Airbus-Che. “We not only conduct the legal dispute, but we also try to find a solution together as a company.”

He is very interested in resolving this dispute with Qatar Airways. “But it takes time,” says Faury. “Of course I’m frustrated to be in this situation. Nobody wants to be in that kind of situation with their client. So we’re trying to find a solution.” E: Of course, we continue to work together at different levels. After all, Airbus planes continue to fly for Qatar Airways.

Procedures and sub-procedures

Recently, it didn’t seem like the two companies would somehow find their way back together. The tone of both sides became more and more acute. In fact, it started harmlessly. In January 2021, a Qatar Airways Airbus A350 was delivered to Ireland for prepared a special paint for the World Cup. Damage to the surface coating emerged after the old paint layer was removed.

A purely aesthetic problem, assured Airbus. Qatar Airways saw things differently. The airline publicly stated that there was no longer sufficient protection against lightning. The Qatar Aviation Authority has even imposed a grounding for 21 A350 of the national airline. Airbus goes on to explain: Grounding is not justified, safety is not compromised, the problem is aesthetic. The case, including the sub-trials, is now under consideration in a London court.

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