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Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Airbus and Qatar Airways resolve the A350 paint issue amicably

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One of the most difficult legal disputes to have recently shaken the aviation sector appears to have finally come to a peaceful conclusion.

Airbus confirmed the resolution of its legal battle with Qatar Airways in a note made public today. The company said the two parties had come to an “amicable and mutually agreeable settlement” that “is not an admission of culpability for either side.” The specifics of the contract are kept private.

When Qatar Airways claimed that it had found paint flaws on some of its recently bought A350 aircraft and consequently grounded a part of its fleet, the protracted saga began at the end of 2020. Airbus denied all claims that this problem might have put passengers’ safety at risk.

When this issue started, Qatar Airways had 53 Airbus A350 aircraft in its fleet (34 in the -900 and 19 in the -1000 versions), plus 19 more were still on order.

The dispute was scheduled to be settled at London’s High Court after months of extremely public wrangling and litigation.

On January 19, 2023, a preliminary court hearing was held in London, when it was revealed that Airbus had made significant design changes that affected various aspects of its production process, ostensibly in response to the worries regarding this matter.

The airline and aircraft manufacturer is collaborating on a repair plan in order to get the impacted aircraft back in the air, according to Airbus’ letter.

It’s interesting how the announcement’s wording suggests that Airbus and Qatar Airways might resume collaboration in the future.

It is important to note that as a result of this conflict, Airbus unilaterally canceled all pending aircraft orders for Qatar Airways, including those for 50 A321neo aircraft. This forced the airline to quickly explore alternatives in order to maintain its intended growth program.

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