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Thursday, March 23, 2023

Airbus to resume deliveries to Qatar Airways

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On February 1, 2023, the seismic news that Airbus and Qatar Airways had finally resolved their protracted dispute over paint cracks spread quickly throughout the aviation industry.

The fact that Airbus will soon be able to resume aircraft deliveries to Qatar Airways is one of the effects of this peace agreement.

Both businesses’ issues are resolved by doing this. For Airbus, it means regaining one of its biggest clients and a significant player in one of the most competitive aircraft markets worldwide.

For Qatar Airways, it implies that it will be free to resume its first fleet expansion plan, which had been delayed by this war, with a few delays.

Airbus had unilaterally canceled the remaining A350 orders from Qatar Airways (19 aircraft that were intended to join the 53 of the type the airline was already operating). Additionally, a 50-aircraft A321 single-aisle order was also canceled.

After a UK court later affirmed these cancellations, Qatar Airways was forced to look for a replacement flight with Boeing’s B737 MAX.

At the Farnborough Air Show in July 2022, Qatar Airways declared that it had placed orders for 25 Boeing 737-10 MAX aircraft (with 25 further options), the largest of the MAX family and able to transport 220 passengers.

A Memorandum of Understanding between Qatar Airways and Boeing for the addition of MAX aircraft to its fleet was already signed in January of the previous year.

By the time the Boeing order was reportedly finalized, this agreement apparently had expired. By that juncture, relations between Qatar Airways and Airbus had significantly deteriorated, and the London High Court was getting ready for a legal dispute.

Qatar Airways had previously purchased the MAX. The airline had ordered 60 Boeing 737-8 MAX aircraft in 2016, although those aircraft were initially going to be used by its Air Italy subsidiary.

It is unclear whether Qatar Airways will stick to the Boeing order or, as some analysts have pointed out, try to swap it for other aircraft types, such as the B787 or B777, now that the bridges between Airbus and Qatar Airways have been repaired and the 50 A321neos have been unlocked (although they won’t arrive until 2026 at the earliest).

Furthermore, it is uncertain if Qatar Airways will place fresh orders with the European supplier soon.

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