LONDON – If you cast your mind back to August 2021, you may remember that Qatar Airways began to ground certain aircraft within its Airbus A350 fleet (28/53 are grounded).
This began as a result of paint defects seen on its long-range aircraft. These paint defects had been deemed a concern to safety and, according to them, posed a threat to the airworthiness of the aircraft.
During the ongoing to’ing and fro’ing, where you have one party that claims it’s a potential safety threat, whilst the other stands firm in it being merely cosmetic.
Even though Qatar has requested hundreds of millions of dollars in damages for the partial grounding of its fleet, Airbus still staunchly denies the claims.
The consequences of all this, alongside the ongoing battle in court, have led the European plane maker to cancel Qatar’s orders for fifty A321neo jets.
The order, which was struck between both cordial parties back in 2017, and was valued at 6.35 billion US dollars, originally had the first delivery scheduled for 2023.
As we get back onto the present day, Qatar has mitigated the loss of the fifty A321 jets canceled by Airbus by subsequently announcing an order for 25 737 MAX 10 aircraft from Boeing at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.
The order includes an option for 25 more screams of a direct replacement in amongst all of the ongoing furor caused by the paint problem.
The Boeing 737 MAX 10 is the largest variant within the 737 MAX family; it seats up to 230 passengers and has a range of up to 3,300 nautical miles.
It offers the greatest fuel efficiency per seat of any other single-aisle aircraft in the world whilst also being able to cover 99 percent of the world’s short-haul routes.
The A321neo order was planned to include a mini version of Qatar’s award-winning QSuite. Qsuite is Qatar’s patented take on business class, and one that regularly takes home the top spot at the prestigious Skytrax industry awards.
As well as Qatar Airways was awarded ‘Airline of the Year’ in September. It was awarded: World’s Best Business Class, Best Business Class Lounge Dining, and Best Airline in the Middle East.
Qatar Airways CEO, His Excellency Akbar Al Baker said of the planned mini QSuite to Executive Traveller that, “Every seat will have aisle access and convert into a fully lie-lat bed”, but, unlike what is seen on the established business class that is renowned around the world, it will not have sliding doors.”
“However, Al Baker has said that it will include something very similar to be able to protect travelers’ privacy.”
What now remains to be seen is if the Boeing 737 MAX 10 can include the heavily customized seats that had been initially designed for the Airbus jets.
The American cabin is 7 inches narrower than that of its European rival, but this could prove to be the key as to whether the project goes ahead or not.