Qatar Airways has hit back at Airbus after the manufacturer cancelled an order by the airline for 50 A321neo aircraft, in the latest tit-for-tat in Qatar’s quality issues with it’s A350 aircraft.
The middle-eastern carrier has been very vocal with the alleged quality issues it is experiencing with its fleet of Airbus A350s. In December 2021, it decided to sue Airbus over the issue, which sees paint cracking away from the composite structure of the aircraft in numerous locations, posing a potential safety risk to the airframe, according to the airline. In addition to grounding parts of its fleet pending a resolution from Airbus, the airline has also suspended scheduled deliveries of all subsequent A350s.
In an unprecedented response, on 20th January 2022, the European plane maker countered by cancelling the Airline’s separate order for 50 Airbus A321neo narrow-body aircraft, which it placed in 2017 – worth $6.35 billion at list prices. Furthermore, to add to this rather surreal turn of events, Qatar Airways has released a video highlighting the damage visible across what it claims to be 21 of its Airbus A350s.
The video clearly shows the paint degradation and cracking all over the fuselage and wings of several of it’s aircraft: A7-ALE, ALF, ALG and A7-ALT. In some instances, the carbon composite structure of the aircraft can be clearly seen, leaving it exposed to environmental factors. In other cases, there is already damage to the structure.
Qatar Airways reiterates its frustration with Airbus in an accompanying statement: “We continue to urge Airbus to undertake a satisfactory root cause analysis into the cause of the defects, as it is required to do. Qatar Airways remains prepared to help with the root cause analysis however it can. In the meantime, we will continue to robustly defend our position in the legal proceedings.”
The hearing of the Court Case brought to Airbus by Qatar Airways is due in late April 2022 at the High Court in London.
Matt is a London-based writer and reporter for International Flight Network who has been involved in aviation from a very young age. He has a particular focus on aircraft safety, accidents and technical details.