LONDON – In a report published by FlightGlobal, it is understood that Airbus has managed to convince the court to hold a split trial over its legal clash with Qatar Airways, which is looking to receive compensation for the skin-paint degradation issues that have plagued the carrier Airbus A350 fleet.
Split Trial To Proceed Despite Protests
Qatar Airways was the launch customer of the Airbus A350, and utilised the aircraft as its backbone through the whole pandemic, however, when the reports of the heat sync issues started to be leaked out of the airline, no one could have quite imaged that it would end up with Qatar and Airbus battling it out in court.
It is understood that the two sides had met in court on December 16 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.
The judge had previously ruled back in May this year, in favour 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.
In a statement provided to FlightGlobal Airbus said: “Splitting the proceedings consistently with Airbus’ proposal would allow the matters that justified the order for expedition still to be tried in June 2023,”
“It would also allow other matters…that are less pressing to be tried following the proper process of disclosure and preparation of factual and expert evidence, which is impossible to fit within the current timetable.”
Qatar Airways, however, fully disputes this saying: “The court should deal with as much of the dispute as possible at the trial [in June], including issues of causation, remedies and loss and damage, and the onus is on [Airbus] to show otherwise,”
“Neither party contended for a split trial when the court directed a speedy trial [in May],” it says. “This was, no doubt, because it was not thought to be a sensible proposal.”
What Next For Qatar Airways
With the judge and court ruling in Airbus’ favour for the split trial it is not really known how this will affect the airline moving forward, it will certainly only make a very fragile relationship even harder to now maintain, and could possibly mean the end for any future Airbus orders or aircraft in the Qatar Airways plans now moving forward.
It is true that while the airline has been very critical about the handling of the case from Airbus and the courts, the A350 has been a very integral part of the airlines fleet and has served it very well over the last 4 years, with it being one of the main aircraft used to launch new routes across into America, with the airline now operating to 15 U.S gateways.
As to the next moves from the airline, only time will tell, this news will certainly have come as a shock to them and has likely affected their initial plans for the claims of damages and lost revenue, with the carrier at one point even needing to wet lease in some A330 aircraft to help cover their services while the aircraft was being grounded.
We will now wait to hear more news as to any new legal claim Qatar will push forward to make against Airbus, as it seems unlikely that they will sit down and accept this ruling announced yesterday.