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Airbus terminates contract to deliver 50 A321neo aircraft to Qatar Airways

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In the newest episode of its dispute with Qatar Airways over the stalled A350 jets, Airbus is upping the ante.

According to Bloomberg, Airbus stated on January 20, 2022, that it has terminated a separate contract with the airline to deliver 50 A321neo aircraft.

The single-aisle model planes are in high demand, with the aircraft’s first delivery scheduled for 2023.

This action is expected to exacerbate the breach between Airbus and Qatar Airways, as well as put pressure on the airline as it prepares to host the 2022 World Cup soccer tournament.

The long-running legal dispute between Airbus and Qatar Airways began in early December 2021, when Airbus decided to seek independent legal opinions on Qatar Airways’ complaints regarding its A350 aircraft fleet.

In a speech in December 2021, the airline’s president and CEO, Akbar Al Bakr, claimed that Airbus needed to accept that its A350 jets had surface problems and that the firm should not be buying freighter planes from the European aircraft manufacturer.

Qatar Airways said on December 20, 2021, that it had filed legal action against Airbus in a UK court to resolve a disagreement over the A350’s fuselage surface degradation.

“We have sadly failed in all our attempts to reach a constructive solution with Airbus in relation to the accelerated surface degradation condition adversely impacting the Airbus A350 aircraft,” the Doha-based airline said in a statement back in December 2021. 

“Qatar Airways has therefore been left with no alternative but to seek a rapid resolution of this dispute via the courts.” 

Qatar Airways is seeking $618 million from Airbus over the A350’s surface condition, according to London High Court documents seen by Reuters on January 6, 2022.

According to Bloomberg, Airbus documents prepared for a London court hearing on January 20, 2022 suggest that “there is no logical or rational basis” for Qatari regulators to ground 21 of the state-owned carrier’s A350s.

Qatar Airways “sought to engineer or acquiesced” in the A350 groundings, according to Airbus, because it is in the airline’s best interests to keep its jets idle “given the impact of the coronavirus pandemic” on demand.

 

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