Airbus Does Not Have To Supply Qatar Airways With A321neo Aircraft, Court Rules

LONDON – The High Court of the United Kingdom has ruled that Airbus does not have to supply Qatar Airways with A321neos that the airline had on order.

This comes following news earlier on that Airbus had revoked the $6bn deal for 50 units of the type.

Such a reaction came to light following Qatar Airways’ separate court claim about surface erosion on the Airbus A350.

Airbus Is Pleased with the Outcome…

In a statement, Airbus told the Guardian that it was pleased with the outcome:

“[We are pleased with the] court’s decision in recognizing Airbus’ position that a transparent and trustful cooperation is essential in our industry”.

“The litigation is about the misrepresentation of the safety and airworthiness of the A350, which we will continue to defend, as well as the reputation of its operators and the rules governing aviation safety in the face of unjustified claims.”

IATA Dubs Ruling “Worrying”…

IATA’s Head Willie Walsh has described the ruling as a “worrying” outcome and believes Airbus is at fault:

“I would hate to think that one of the suppliers is taking advantage of their current market strength to exploit their position, and that is something we are watching very closely.”

Airbus, however, argues that the two contracts, being for the A321neo and A350, are connected by a “cross-default” clause that allows them to pull out of one deal when an airline doesn’t honor the other.

Emirates Chairman Tim Clark has also spoken up on the subject, saying he is not sympathetic to Qatar Airways’ cause, which is unsurprising given they are competitors.

Airbus Lose Out on a Customer Anyway…

Despite this victory for Airbus, they do lose out on a customer anyway, but maybe they are glad about it.

However, early developments surrounding the surface erosion claims and the deal revocation resulted in Qatar Airways bolstering its relationship with Boeing.

Back in January, the airline ordered Boeing 777X Freighters as well as some 737 MAX aircraft as well.

The ruling today means that Airbus can sell those 50 A321neos to different customers, which may help towards treating some upcoming deliveries in the backlog.

What Next?

We are yet to find out the outcome of the other lawsuit that is currently in place regarding the surface erosion claims.

Back in January, Qatar Airways evaluated the claim at $618 million, with the figure going up every day that the matter isn’t resolved.

All eyes will be on both sides to see how the court will rule. Given today’s ruling, it could go either way into whether Qatar Airways will win the dispute or not.

Whatever happens, it remains clear that the relationship between the two sides will require a lot of work if it is to be repaired going into the future.

But for now, the industry awaits the final outcome of what is probably the more important case out of the two, and from there, we will see reaction from both sides.

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