As the row between Qatar Airways and Airbus reaches new heights, the former has released a video showing some of the damage that its Airbus A350 fleet has experienced. Thus far, only a handful of out-of-context photos have been revealed, but the new video released shows the impact in context on the aircraft.
Later this year, Qatar Airways is expected to face off against Airbus in the London Courts over an ongoing row over damage to some of its Airbus A350 aircraft. Just yesterday, as the row intensified, Airbus revealed that it had taken the drastic action of canceling a larger order placed by Qatar Airways for narrowbody jets.
“Defects not superficial”
Commenting on the video Qatar Airways revealed that it had been released to show that the damage experienced on its Airbus A350 planes isn’t superficial. The video shows several different types of damage, including leaving the lightning protection system and some composite structures exposed to the elements.
The airline welcomed a decision by the Technology and Construction division of the High Court in England to expedite the court case to April 2022. The video was released one day after Airbus canceled a separate order for 50 Airbus A321s placed by Qatar Airways. Qatar Airways highlighted this, suggesting that the reveal of the extent of the damage, thus far kept out of the public eye, might have been released in retaliation.
Commenting on the release, the airline said,
“We confirm that we are adhering to all of our obligations under all applicable contracts. It is therefore a matter of considerable regret and frustration that Airbus has taken the apparent decision to expand and escalate this dispute.”
21 jets grounded
21 of Qatar Airways’ Airbus A350 jets have now been grounded due to such issues detected on the aircraft. Earlier this month, it was revealed that the airline was seeking $600 million in damages from Airbus through the proceedings. In addition, the airline wants an extra $4 million for each day a plane remains grounded. This would add up to the 2018 list price of an A350-900 every 80 days.
In late November, it was revealed that other aircraft operators had also been experiencing issues with paint on the Airbus A350 fleet, though none had taken steps as drastic as Qatar Airways. Lufthansa noticeably sent its three oldest A350s for repainting under warranty. The problem was first detected when a Qatar Airways A350 was due to be repainted around a year ago.
What does Airbus say?
Simple Flying has contacted Airbus for a reaction to the video. This article will be updated as appropriate. In early December, Airbus revealed that it was seeking a legal assessment over the issue. At the time, the manufacturer commented,
“In the face of the ongoing mischaracterisation of non-structural surface degradation on its fleet of A350 aircraft by one of its customers, it has become necessary for Airbus to seek an independent legal assessment as a way forward to resolve the dispute… The attempt by this customer to misrepresent this specific topic as an airworthiness issue represents a threat to the international protocols on safety matters.”
What do you make of the damage shown on the Qatar Airways Airbus A350s? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.