According to court documents filed on Thursday in London’s High Court, Qatar Airways has allowed a deal for 50 Boeing 737MAX10 aircraft to “expire.”
A pre-trial hearing for a multibillion-dollar case Qatar Airways has filed against European aircraft manufacturer Airbus resulted in the disclosure that the airline has allegedly abandoned the $20 billion deal (at list value).
After being signed, the agreement was given just four months to expire. It was a component of a broader contract between Qatar Airways and Boeing, which was inked in April and called for the purchase of 50 Boeing 777X freighters as well as two more 777 freighter models.
In reaction to Airbus’s decision to unilaterally revoke Qatar’s order for its competing single-aisle aircraft, the A321neo, the separate Memorandum of Understanding for the 737MAX was signed at a grandiose ceremony at the White House.
Because Qatar Airways declined to accept delivery of brand-new A350 widebody planes due to a dispute over a significant paint flaw, Airbus canceled the order for 50 A321neos. The Qatari flag carrier’s future fleet plans now have a huge void after a High Court judge determined that Airbus had the right to cancel the deal.
Although it doesn’t equal the A321neo exactly, the Boeing 737MAX10 is the best model currently on the market, and no other aircraft manufacturer makes anything even quite comparable.
However, it appears that Qatar Airways won’t commit to the 737MAX10.
According to Reuters, as part of its litigation preparation, Airbus requested a copy of the contract between Qatar Airways and Boeing for the 737MAX, but Qatar Airways refused, claiming the arrangement had “expired.”
Although the agreement never obligated the airline to purchase the planes, Qatar Airways has so far refrained to comment on the situation. Private talks are off-limits to customers at airlines, according to Boeing.
It is unclear what Qatar Airways intends to do in the near future to upgrade its fleet of single-aisle aircraft.