A new chapter opens in the long-running dispute between Qatar Airways and European plane manufacturer Airbus over the surface erosion on A350 jets and related safety concerns.
On September 8, 2022, Airbus confirmed that it had revoked the remaining Qatar Airways order and removed 19 A350 aircraft from its backlog. Speaking to Reuters, an Airbus spokesperson said that for the period between January and August 2022, the company’s order book consisted of a net total of 637 jets after cancelations, including planes that were dedicated to Qatar Airways.
Flight safety concerns brought to court
In late 2021, Qatar Airways sued Airbus over premature fuselage surface deterioration on its A350s. At the time the Doha-based airline was aiming to receive around $600 million in compensation for the defect.
The surface erosion case was brought to court. On April 26, 2022, the judge ruled in favor of Airbus, authorizing the manufacturer not to fulfill its contractual obligation to deliver a different order of A321neo jets to Qatar.
Airbus was also allowed to sell the A350s rejected by Qatar Airways as the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) concluded that these planes were safe to fly. The EASA said it had found no evidence that paint or surface erosion on the A350 jets posed a safety concern.
On May 26, 2022, The High Court in London ruled that the dispute will be brought to trial in the summer 2023 under an expedited process. Even though both parties welcomed the legal process, Qatar Airways seemed to hope that the two parties could reach a settlement.