Costly legal dispute with Airbus: Qatar Airways shows damaged A350

Costly litigation with Airbus
Qatar Airways shows damaged A350

The paint is off: As the Airbus A350-type machines show superficial damage, Qatar Airways is suing the Franco-German aircraft manufacturer. The fronts in the multi-billion dollar dispute have hardened. Reporters have an idea of ​​how bad things are with jets.

From a distance, the two Airbus machines in the illuminated hangar in the Qatari capital Doha look like all long-haul A350 planes. But on closer inspection, the damage to the wings, fuselage and tail fins of the two aircraft can hardly be overlooked. Reuters news agency reporters gained access to the two Airbus A350s, which together cost around $ 300 million and are at the center of a multibillion-dollar legal battle between state-owned airline Qatar Airways and the Franco-German aircraft manufacturer, on the on the sidelines of a sector conference in Doha.

Airbus 22.80

The regulator in Qatar grounded the plane after prematurely peeling paint revealed damage to a metal layer designed to protect the fuselage from lightning strikes. Whether this poses a security risk is questionable. The European supervisory authorities had declared the plane safe, but they are still operational with other airlines. Since then, however, Qatar Airways has refused to accept the remaining 23 A350s ordered by Airbus’ previous major customer.

Reuters reporters see damage in places, including a longer area on top of the jet where the paint blisters, crumbles, or is missing altogether. Elsewhere, even on the tips of the curved wings, you can see the lightning rod fabric placed between the paint and the fuselage, partially corroded or missing, allowing you to see the fuselage. In some places on the fuselage, the carbon strands have frayed or come off.

Dinner does not bring rapprochement

Qatar Airways and Airbus declined to comment on the results. Although the aircraft manufacturer has recognized the quality flaws in the A350, they do not see them as a safety risk. Qatar Airways asks for more detailed analysis, it cannot be said in advance. According to Airbus, paint chipping has to do with the carbon composite materials used in all modern aircraft to make them lighter.

Qatar Airways, on the other hand, had argued before a London court, before which the dispute is pending, that such problems did not occur with comparable Boeing 787 machines. Qatar Airways chief Akbar Al Baker and Airbus chief Guillaume Faury met at the industry summit in Doha this week and even sat next to each other for dinner. But they didn’t get close to each other on the matter, Al Baker said at a press conference later. “Personally, I get along with everyone, but when it comes to a problem with my company, that’s another matter. If we had a deal, we wouldn’t wait for the process to start next year.” Faury was more diplomatic: “Progress has been made – in the sense that we are talking to each other,” he said.

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