Airbus cancelled $6bn contract with Qatar Airways

Photo by Saif Zaman আয়ান from Pexels

In an escalating legal battle over paint on recently delivered A350s, Airbus is said to have cancelled a $6bn (5.2bn euros) contract with Qatar Airways. The deal for was for the delivery of a further 50 of its new A321 passenger jets.
Qatar Airways, who called Airbus’s decision “a matter of considerable regret and frustration”, took legal action in London following a series of alleged problems with the Airbus A350 aircraft.
The airline complained that the paint on the recently delivered Airbus A350s was cracking and peeling, exposing copper meshing used to insulate the aircraft against lightning strike. As a result it seeking more than $600m (540m euros) in compensation after grounding 21 of its 53 A350 jets, claiming the paint issue is a safety risk.
Qatar Airways have published a video on social media showing the scarred exterior of the grounded A350 jets that the airline said underscored “serious and legitimate safety concerns”. Images also shows what appears to be paint peeling, cracking and exposed expanded copper foil on the fuselage of a Qatar Airways A350 aircraft
The European Union Aviation Safety Agency independently assessed the issue and found no safety concerns.
In documents prepared for a London Court, Airbus said: “There is no reasonable or rational basis for Qatari regulators to have grounded the A350s operated by Qatar Airways.”
Airbus has accused the company of instigating the grounding as it was in its own financial interest to keep the aircraft on the ground in light of the collapse in the demand for international travel due to the pandemic.
Qatar Airways rejected the claims in a statement on Friday.
“These defects are not superficial and one of the defects causes the aircraft’s lightning protection system to be exposed and damaged,” it said. “We continue to urge Airbus to undertake a satisfactory root cause analysis into the cause of the defects.”
Reuters news agency investigations show at least five other airlines reported A350 paint or skin flaws since 2016, well before Qatar raised concerns in November 2020 when an attempt to repaint a jet in World Cup livery exposed some 980 defects.
Airbus has said it is looking at changing the design of anti-lightning mesh for future A350s, but insisted there is adequate backup lightning protection. As it cancelled the $6bn contract, Airbus said Qatar is undermining global protocols by seeking leverage over safety.

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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]


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