Airbus-Qatar Airways Dispute Ends Amicably

Qatar Airways Airbus A350.
Photo: Harrison Rowe/AviationSource

LONDON – In one of the biggest disputes, Airbus and Qatar Airways has come to an amicable agreement regarding surface erosion on the Airbus A350 aircraft.

The agreement means both parties will now avoid a court case worth over $2 Billion in what is being earmarked as an unprecedented public rift.

What Was the Dispute Over

Qatar Airways Airbus A350.
Photo Credit: Emil Bree/AviationSource

Qatar Airways was the launch customer of the Airbus A350 and utilized the aircraft as its backbone through the whole pandemic.

In total, up to 29 Airbus A350 aircraft were grounded over the heat sync issues.

When the reports of the heat sync issues started to be leaked out of the airline back in 2022, no one could have quite imagined that it would end up with Qatar and Airbus battling it out in court, which now it seems will not be the case after both parties have come to an agreement.

It is understood that the two sides had met in court on December 16, 2022, to discuss the next steps, with Airbus previously warning that the trial, which is set to begin in June next year, may have to be postponed after a shortcoming from Qatar Airways discourses was announced.

A Judge had ruled previously, back in May 2022, in favor of an expedited trial, with Airbus stating they had “repeatedly warned” about the case not being on track, adding that an adjournment would be “inevitable” if the court did not move to agree on the motion submitted by Airbus to “give off quantum” which would which the main part of the case focused on addressing quantity of damages.

Tempours were high during the initial phases of the legal despite Airbus even taking the action to cancel the outstanding order that Qatar had placed, something which a court later ruled against Airbus on, forcing them to keep the order agreement in place.

The question now is, did Qatar have the evidence and information it needed to take the battle to the courtroom and win?

The court case was initially launched to understand what had caused the paint to crack and break off on the A350 jets,

Strange Ending

Looking back over reports in December of last year, it is hard to believe anyone would have suggested that this case would end in the “amicable” form that it did, with Airbus saying: “Both parties can now continue to move forward as partners”

It was also pointed out by Airbus in their announcement, however, that just because an agreement had been reached, it did not mean any admission of fault for either party.

There was much dispute and discussion about the changes Airbus made to the A350 during the legal battle, with Reuters publishing an article outlaying design changes being made by Airbus.

Both companies have been fighting in court for months over the safety impact of flaking paint that exposed corrosion or gaps in a sub-layer of metallic lightning protection.

The main focus of the case was a sandwich of copper foil between the carbon fuselage and outer paint on A350 jets, designed to allow lightning strikes to wash away safely off the carbon-built frame.

During the entire despite, there were never any other reports for other carriers of the intense levels of paint cracking being shown on the A350; however, this doesn’t seem to matter anymore, with both parties now clearly wanting to move forward and focus on the future.

By Tomos Howells - Chief Executive Officer 4 Min Read
4 Min Read
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