Finger Pointing Intensifies: Airbus & Qatar Airways Accuse Each Other of Collusion

Photo Credit: Emil Bree/AviationSource

LONDON – The finger-pointing intensifies as Airbus & Qatar Airways accuse each other of collusion in their High Court fight over A350 surface degradation issues.

The report from the Press Association via AOL discusses how each side has accused the other party of colluding with regulators over such issues.

Such a report was released by Tom Pilgrim at PA within the last hour.

Airbus Colluding With EASA?

Airbus has been accused of “exerting its influence” over the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and providing a “line to take” on the surface degradation issues.

Phillip Shepherd KC, the lawyer for Qatar Airways, stated to the High Court that CEO Guillaume Faury has “extensive involvement” with EASA, being dubbed “the man calling the shots”.

“He was managing what Airbus called the crisis in relation to the A350″.

“It is now apparent that, in fact, Airbus was anxiously seeking to ‘convince’ EASA of its position and providing EASA with a ‘Line to Take’ when communicating with others.”

“Airbus sought to, and appears to have succeeded, in exerting its influence over EASA”.

Shepherd produced email evidence from Sabine Klauke, who is the Chief Technical Officer of Airbus, speaking to Patrick Ky, the Executive Director of EASA, stating the following:

 “Patrick was fully committed to calling his QCAA counterpart and seeing with him how they would help them to justify putting the Aircraft back in the air.”

Shepherd said on this: “In short, it amounts to EASA-Airbus collusion”.

Qatar Airways Colluding With QCAA?

On the other hand, Airbus alleges that Qatar Airways may have “colluded or conspired” with the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority (QCAA) over improving commercial positions with Airbus in relation to compensation.

Lord David Wolfson, who is representing Airbus, stated that Qatar Airways “acted in bad faith” in relation to the QCAA decision on grounding the A350s affected by the surface degradation.

“[Qatar Airways] may have wrongfully colluded or conspired with the QCAA with a view to attempting to improve (Qatar Airways’) commercial position against Airbus”.

Shepherd KC responded by saying there had been no collusion and highlighting communication that stressed the fact that the manufacturer “understood the seriousness of the issue and that it was a genuine issue, and not about money”.

Is This All Dirty Laundry?

As the High Court arguments continue to intensify, it’s becoming clear that the dirty laundry between the two sides is beginning to show.

The fact that each side is accusing the other of collusion with regulatory bodies is quite the allegation to make and could prompt investigations in the future.

We saw this with Boeing and the MAX crisis where effectively, the American planemaker was able to make decisions on certification themselves rather than any FAA oversight.

This now has, of course, been changed in recent months, but this is more of a slippy slope for Airbus than it would be for Qatar Airways.

With the State of Qatar constantly accused of corruption and violation of human rights, it’s something that such accusations are something the State is well used to already.

For Airbus, such a development like this could incite further oversight and investigation, especially if it ends up coming out that the two sides have been colluding.

Even so, it’s going to be interesting to see what else comes out of this lawsuit and what could potentially follow in the future.

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